When: 6, 7, 13, 14 Mar
Where: West Terrace Cemetery
How much: $25 – $28
It’s a surreal feeling walking into the West Terrace Cemetery under the cover of darkness, ready to explore the gravestones and spirits within the gates for the night tour, ‘Mavericks, Madness and Murder Most Foul!’ at the Adelaide Fringe. I squinted into the pitch black through the rows of gravestones, I fully anticipated seeing the actors in the show scuttling around, ready to leap out and make me horror-movie-scream.
Before the tour begins, participants are handed antique-looking lamps, they are all synced up and glow multicoloured. The amiable tour guide introduces herself and any reluctance I had going to such a spooky sounding show melt away. It’s when our group first visits the first grave that I am surprised the lamp I’m holding starts playing music, setting the scene for the person buried within.
As we zig-zagged through the rows of gravestones, we are intermittently greeted by characters who portray those buried. These ghosts interact with the audio from our lamps, talking of their life’s achievements, their crimes, and often their untimely deaths.
What knowledge I have taken away is more about the history of Adelaide itself, and of the selection of the 150,000 thought to be buried at the site. What was also fascinating was how the dignitaries and not-so-dignitary were honoured in death, whether it be with a 7-tonne slab of Italian marble, a copper-lined headstone, or in one of the innumerable unmarked mass graves.
The tour finishes with the story of perhaps one of the most famous murder cases in all Australia, that of the mystery of the Somerton Man who died in 1948. His death continues to remain unknown, and a show could be made from this story alone, but unfortunately, it’s only briefly explained at the end of the tour.
If you came on this tour for ghost hunting or jump scares, this won’t entirely satisfy that desire, but if you come wanting to learn more about the history of Adelaide and get the occasional goose bump, this is the show for you.
I also learned they are now reclaiming unused grave sites, so this tour could be a perfect opportunity to scope out the location of your final resting place…
3 out of 5 stars.