More scares on stage, please!

Funny, unsettling, inventive and uncannily atmospheric, Horror comes back at The Peacock Theatre to scare us to death. And to make us think about the future of horror on stage.

Spoiler

Al Peacock Theatre, dopo il successo dello scorso anno all’interno del London International Mime Festival, torna Horror, l’ultimo terrificante lavoro della Jakop Ahlbom Company. Un omaggio spassionato ai grandi horror movies, da Shining a Rosemary’s Baby fino a The Ring, lo spettacolo offre un’eccezionale versione teatrale di un genere pressoché inesistente sul palcoscenico. Con risultati spaventosi.

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Jakop Ahlbom Company’s cult success returns at The Peacock Theatre after being part of the 2016 London International Mime Festival. There are more than one reason to see it: first of all, it is a great piece of wordless physical theatre, with its unforgettable hair-raising atmospheres, stupendous effects, sinister soundscape and kaleidoscopic design. It is flawlessly executed, from its astonishing dance sequences to its jump-cut style blackouts. But it is also an extremely rare example of how horror on stage can shake us with the same intensity that great horror films have.

We leave the theatre with one clear idea in mind: we need more horror in the theatre. How many scary shows have we seen? Most of us will say not even one. Wikipedia lists just 13 horror plays from 1888 up to now. Try to find a horror play on the best-known theatre websites and you will be disappointed – to say the least. It seems that horror is one of the theatre’s most unloved genres. Even better, it simply does not exist as a genre.

A loving homage to the greatest horror movies – clear tributes to The Shining, Rosemary’s Baby, Poltergeist, The Exorcist, The Ring, Carrie, The Blair Witch Project, Oculus, Evil Dead 2 can be spotted – the piece is framed around a classic narrative: three friends have the brilliant idea of staying the night in a deserted house and, no surprise, things swiftly get weird. A television switches on unbidden; a child cries unseen through the house; bodies levitate; a hand rebels against its owner, has to be cut off and starts to crawl around the stage. Plenty of inventive images thrive on stage during those 80 minutes. Images which are scary, disgusting, unsettling, but also funny and even poetic. Women emerge now from shutters, now from a TV, are swallowed by a sofa, drowned by sadistic parents in a bath, devour their lover’s tongue, and exhibit some of the best spider-walks ever seen. A man’s entrails are ripped out through his mouth, five identical men emerge from a bath… Uncountable eerie mime and dance sequences, performed with exceptional physical virtuosity, are perfectly juxtaposed with creepy soundscapes and sudden loud noises. Blackouts and flashes of light help create a disquieting atmosphere that keeps us on the edge of our seat.

Jakop Ahlbom Company’s show proves that horror on stage has a tremendous potential. Not because it is able to offer experiences which are as terrifying as cinema, but because it does it its way. While many horror movies, thanks to close-ups, clever editing and visual effects, rely on surprise effects and visceral shocks to provoke a response, this uncannily atmospheric show really proves that in the theatre, horror can get under the skin of an audience. That is far from the thrill of a fairground rise: it is about drawing an audience on a eerie journey into the depths of human psyche; the thrill can pale, but not the atmosphere.

The show was played at
The Peacock Theatre

Portugal St, London WC2A 2HT
from Tue 23rd May to Sat 10th of June
Tue-Sat 7:30pm, Sun 1:00pm; 6:00pm

Horror
concept and direction Jakop Ahlbom
cast Luc van Esch, Yannick Greweldinger, Judith Hazeleger, Silke Hundertmark, Sofieke de Kater, Gwen Langenberg, Maurits van den Berg and Reinier Schimmel
understudies Andrea Beugger, Anna Gehlin, Marinke Eijgenraam and Klaus Jürgens
dramaturge Judith Wendel
design Douwe Hibma, Jakop Ahlbom, with cooperation of Remco Gianotten
music design Wim Conradi and Bauke Moerman
costume design Esmee Thomassen with cooperation of Kyra Wessel
special props and make-up Rob Hillenbrink
make-up and hair work Nienke Algra
lighting design Yuri Schreuders
technicians Tom Vollebregt, Remco Gianotten, Yuri Schreuders, Allard Vonk, Michel van der Weijden and Alfred van der Meulen
financial support of The Performing Arts Fund, City of Amsterdam, Embassy of The Netherlands, WK Producties, Performance Infinity, Jingying Group

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