Horror

Theatre, Experimental
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Spine-tingling, generically unclassifiable theatre tribute to the world of horror movies

Jakop Ahlbom’s blend of dance, mime, acrobatics and illusion defies easy classification. In his 2014 show 'Horror', back at the Peacock after a brief Mime Festival appearance last year, all those elements come together beautifully for a truly unsettling piece of theatre. It’s notoriously difficult to create genuine frights on stage, but Swedish-born, Netherlands-based Ahlbom – a lifelong horror film fan – takes a cinematic approach and draws inspiration from some of the greatest scary movies for his show, to exhilarating effect.

A woman returns to the deserted home where she grew up, with two male friends. Something terrible happened to the woman’s sister here, and her vengeful ghost soon makes itself known – mysteriously moving objects are just the start of it. Supernatural scenes of the girls’ brutal, repressed childhood at the hands of their sadistic parents start overwhelming reality. By the time a pair of giggly newlyweds arrive looking for a place to shelter, the stage is set for a catastrophe.

Pretty much all the horror tropes are here, and it’s fun to play spot the classic film reference – the spider walk from 'The Exorcist', Sadako from 'The Ring', a touch of 'Oculus', a hint of 'The Shining', the possessed hand from 'Evil Dead II' etc. But it’s testament to Ahlbom’s narrative and stagecraft skills that this doesn’t end up feeling like a stitched-together 'best of' show. Mainly, in fact, you wonder how the increasingly grisly effects are being achieved so convincingly on a live stage.

Ahlbom’s cast – a mix of actors, dancers, mime artists and circus performers, are excellent, particularly Gwen Langenberg as the terrifying ghostly sister, who creaks, ticks and whirrs like an insect as she jerks and scuttles around the stage. The denouement is a full-on, skilfully choreographed fight between the sister and the undead we’ve witnessed being created – complete with twitching zombie bride and much axe-wielding. Crucially, Ahlbom never takes things too seriously – the result is bloody good fun. 

BY: SIOBHAN MURPHY

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tastemaker

Shock horror this is the most spine-tingling most intense knife edged horror show that I have ever seen played out at any theatre "Oh yes, there will be blood". 


Spoiler alert....


The story is about a lady who returns to revisit her deserted home in where she once grew up.  She brings along two of her male friends on the trip "Think you're alone? Think again". However something terrible had happened to the woman’s sister here, and sooner rather than later the ghost of her sister soon makes herself known "Who will survive and what will be left of them?". The whole play shows supernatural scenes of the females brutal childhood from start to finish with many horror moments from mysteriously moving objects to murders.  Most moments were taken from past horror movies from the possessed sawn of hand to the 360 head turn. The ghost of her sister is not the only ghost though to appear as the ghosts of her parents also appear. The whole play shows that the two females had a very strict Christen upbringing with her sister always being whipped for misbehaving which eventually she is murdered by her own parents "Forgive me father, for I am sin". Eventually throughout the play after many spine shining moments possessions happen and murders of her friends take place "Ding dong. You're dead." She is now left alone with her ghost family and possessed dead bodies of her friends whom try to kill her. At this point a pair of newlyweds arrive looking for a place to shelter but I bet they wished they never discovered the house. They find the young lady crying in a cupboard all upset and they try to comfort her but this is then eventually interrupted when the dead friends and the ghosts come out to play and you guessed it eventually they also come to a grizzly death. The last scene shows you the young lady and her ghost sister walking off but did she die I am unsure this is the only part of the play I am confused about.


All acting is mimed no talking whatsoever but this did not matter as it really did not need it and in fact properly made the whole play even more creepier and scarier especially when the young dead sister played by Gwen Langenberg who moves around like a scattering spider around the stage. 


This show is only on for a short run which is a pity as I would of gone and saw it again as I am a massive horror fan.  So my advice is to you if you are a massive horror fan yourself then this is the most certainly the best horror play that you can ever see at a theatre so go and see it don't miss it before it vanishes.


"If this movie doesn't make your skin crawl … it's on too tight"

Tastemaker

This play first appeared last year as part of the London International Mime Festival in June 2016. It's now back in the Peacock Theatre near Holborn and Temple until 10th June. I didn't actually know when I went to this that the whole play is mimed. Using physical actors (some are obviously dancers and do ballet although the production doesn't play out like a dance routine heavy play), lighting, audio and practical effects they conjure the tale of a haunted house on the stage to great effect. Telling the story of a girl and her friends who go back to an old house of her childhood with bad memories, they are soon haunted by the spectre of her sister who is very much not at rest. Using a wealth of references from horror movies including The Exorcist, The Ring, The Grudge and even the old Hammer classics, we are transported to this haunted world with some jump scares, some creepy movement and make up and also some tender moments as well. Some of the fight scenes fall a little on the am dram side but on the whole, if you like magic and illusion and the odd scare, you'll love this. Some quick changes and ultra fast repos when the lights went out were mind boggling, and hats off to the creepy haunted girl who could walk down the stairs doing a crab for a true creepy Japanese horror moment! We were in row D and the tickets were about 25 quid so it's not even that expensive either. An entertaining story merged with some very bloody magic.

Tastemaker

If you think that you can only get properly scared from horror movies, you are absolutely wrong. This is a masterpiece of live horror theater. A tribute to all classic horror movies - the exorcist, cabin in the woods, orphans. poltergeist, the ring. Direction, set design, special effects (aka Hollywood movies) & terrifying music are all there to make you scream. People levitate, vanish, climb in walls, emerge from tv, kill each other in the most splatter way. It’s a play without words but a lot of contemporary dance. What's all about: a young woman returns to a deserted mansion where she grow up. It's time to bring back her parents' & sister's memories and face some terrible truths. Part of the London International Mime Festival 2016 (unfortunately just for 2 performances).