This is possibly the longest review I’ve written for the shortest ever attraction. I’ve spent way too long on this than the actual event itself, or that it warrants. I’m tempted to delete all of this and just write ‘awful, but hilarious’ instead.
A few years ago I was visiting a friend of mine in Brooklyn and she highly recommended going to Coney Island. I’d already done the usual New York tourist attractions, and as a coaster fan I felt I had to ride Cyclone and the terrifying for me, Wonder Wheel. I had a great day at Luna Park, ate a world-famous hotdog at Nathan’s and even managed to enjoy Zamperla’s Soarin’ Eagle and the scarily unrestrained Thunderbolt.
In between all this I visited Coney Island Freak Show, now named the much more PC-friendly Coney Island Circus Sideshow. Personally, for a much more modern and correct ‘freak show’, I had an absolute blast and loved it. A superb modern homage to wonderful distant throwback. As good as that was, this isn’t a review of any of that. I truly wish it was.
Dr Frytes Freak Show “Strangest Things’ opened earlier in 2019 in a store front on Blackpool’s promenade a little bit south of Central pier but a few buildings north of Silcock’s Fun Palace. Great central location, and that is about the only positive thing going for it. I’d only seen one incredibly negative review for the venue previously and a fair amount of bad local press on the imagery used on the attractions shop front. This frontage had been amended to something a bit more family friendly when Ash and I saw it.
On my tram up towards the Tower I saw the attraction and it had its shutters down, so I’d assumed after all the bad press it had prematurely closed,
We arrived at the shop front and there was no-one around. There were a couple of potential entrances with ‘lovingly’ draped strips of shag pile carpet to prevent easy ingress and views in to the interior. I, not having a clue what we were supposed to do, shoved my head through the carpet door and was scared off by a dude with a fake chainsaw.
We waited a short while outside the doors before a guy came from inside and gave us a bit of a spiel before taking our cash. Unsurprisingly it’s a cash only venue. Cards or contactless are not to be found here. We had a chat with the main guy, paid our small amount of money and entered in to the freak show.
Upon entering the ‘show’ we were stood in the centre of the room, in front of some Heras fencing with a black curtain behind it. The main guy gave a bit more spiel before disappearing stage right. In place we were ready for the actual event itself.
In preparation for writing this review I had to check the thesaurus for all the relevant adjectives I could use. Abhorrent, abominable, appalling, atrocious, and awful gets me to the end of the ‘A’s. I won’t bore you with the rest of the alphabet. That said as truly terrible as this event was, we couldn’t help laughing immensely during and after the event. I’d be hard pressed to say that it falls in to the ‘so bad it’s good’ category, it’s still in the ‘so bad it’s bad’ area and there is a certain amount of ironic pleasure that can be derived from it.
I felt for the poor actress who is literally the singular participant of the ‘freak show’. There’s not much that she can play with
Hard pass on this one. Although if you’re a fan of the truly terrible and to be fair for the comedy value alone, then for £2.50 it’s well worth it if you’re nearby. Don’t go out of your way to visit it in any way though. Writing this review has weirdly reminded me of Edgar Wright’s Grindhouse trailer. Watch that instead and it will be immeasurably more entertaining than this live event and you don’t have to leave your home or pay any money to enjoy the experience.