Welcome to the Show

‘Welcome to the Show’: A Compelling Mystery About Crumbling Alliances

Written and directed by Dorie Barton, Welcome to the Show is a film which allows its viewer to evaluate how they’d feel if they were part of an immersive experience that not only entertains but forces its participants to determine what trust and insecurities can rise to the surface. The film, which follows a group of friends deciding to go to a show that could very well be David Fincher’s The Game on a lesser scale, is a great look at what happens when we have little to no control over what is in front of us and how easy it is for people who SHOULD be friends to lose the trust and reliability that comes with people you think you know.

When the film’s four leads (played by Richard Follin, Dillon Douglasson, Keegan Garant, and Christopher Martin) decide that for their boy’s night out, they’ll take part in “the show,” an interactive theatre performance in which the lines between what’s in and out of the show are blurred. They don’t know that almost immediately, like the film’s viewers, the disorienting tone that makes you feel that you’re not quite sure what is going to happen, is front and centre. Each character slowly unravels, causing deep-rooted animosity, jealousy and mistrust to come to the surface. By the film’s end, each man is no longer the same as before.

Barton’s writing and directing really shines in Welcome to the Show. Each character is fleshed out to the point in which you’re happy to be along for the rider and though some are easier to latch onto than others, as a viewer, you can identify why each man thinks the way he does, adding to the tension and also enthralling approach to giving the viewer a mystery that they can solve alongside the film’s characters themselves.

There’s a great DIY aesthetic to Welcome to the Show, a “let’s use what we have” ethos to the production that really stands out and while some may see it as a detriment to the film, this writer sees it as personality, making for one enjoyable, yet sometimes confusing (it should be) ride. Barton has a knack for creating questions and slowly peeling back each character until each answer is revealed and there’s never a letdown with each reveal, the film is a great character study of how easy it is to fall apart and lose alliances when met with even the most minimal opposition.

If Welcome to the Show is any indication of what Barton is capable with, then readers, this is one filmmaker to look out for.

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