BWW Review: THE CASTLE at YES 24 STAGE 1, 'Welcome to My Castle!'

One of America's first serial killers, con artist, bigamist, "Beast of Chicago," and "The Murder Hotel," what do these words have in common? They all have an association with the cold-blooded murderer, Herman Webster Mudgett, better known as H.H. Holmes. When it was announced that a musical about H.H. Holmes was to premiere on April, the musical gained much attention as many people anticipated the final product. The new musical produced by Double K Film & Theatre Company, known as THE CASTLE sent out their first batch of invitations to the "Murder Hotel" on April 15th.

THE CASTLE describes the thrilling journey of four main characters, Howard Holmes, Benjamin Pitzel, Carrie Kenning, and Tony. The story starts off at the year of 1965 when Detective Frank Geyer visits the moyamensing prison in Philadelphia to meet Henry Howard Holmes. As he is investigating the serial murders that happened in the Castle Hotel during the 1893 Columbian Exposition, he asks H.H. Holmes about the murders as he was the owner of the Castle Hotel. The plot thickens as H.H. Holmes begins the story of a young couple, Benjamin Pitzel and Carrie Kenning who arrived at Chicago, trying to escape from their dark past. One thing to be aware of when watching THE CASTLE the musical is that it is not a historical production only based on facts, the plot of the show uses the story of Holmes as a motif and is detailed with narratives based on the writer's imagination.

The set of THE CASTLE looks like the inside of a hotel with several staircases, a hotel room, and of course, H.H.Holmes's secret laboratory where he brutally kills and dissects the poor unfortunate hotel guests. There are also hidden staircase and hallways where the actors sing during the show but are not visible to the audience's eye. Though the set was effective in showing how the hotel had several hidden rooms and was built in a complicated way, there were several details that could have been improved. For instance, during the scene where Carrie assists Holmes by leaking gas into one of the guest rooms, the room is slowly filled with a bit of fog, which I suspect comes from a fog machine that is located at the floor of the room. However, the quantity of the fog was not enough to effectively show that gas was leaking and it would have been better if the fog actually was spread throughout the room from the ceiling rather than the floor as there is a lyric where it states the gas pipes are above.

THE CASTLE is a musical that deals with the binary characteristics of humankind, good and evil. By using the contrast between the pure-hearted Tony, who represents the good and the cold-blooded murderer, Holmes who represents the evil and two humans, Benjamin and Carrie who had the power to choose either side, the show effectively shows the complication of human nature. THE CASTLE starts off as a show that you could enjoy with the powerful music and amazing acting, however as the show proceeds on, you realize that the message implied is worth pondering.

THE CASTLE closes the doors of the YES 24 Stage 1 Theater on June 30th. Tickets start at 22,000 KRW and can be purchased at or the box office. Do not forget the check the show schedule prior to purchasing the tickets.

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From This Author Jimin Lee

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