Review: Jakop Ahlbom Company - Horror - The Peacock

Performance: 23 May - 10 June 2017
Reviewed by Rhiannon Brace - Thursday 25 May 2017

For horror film buffs Horror at The Peacock Theatre promises everything and it delivers. It is a masterclass in theatrical tricks and special effects.

If you love the theatre then, whether or not you enjoy the content of the show, you will appreciate Horror’s set design, use of props and talented performers. From the moment the show begins, it’s trick-after-trick and bump-after-bump of ghostly appearances together with an unapologetic gore fest.

For this reason, it took me a while to get on board with the style of the show. There was no time invested in building tension or the setting-up the plot and characters. It’s just not that kind of show. Unfortunately, I didn’t find myself truly spooked because there were just too many moments of surprise

The show invites the audience to play ‘spot the horror film reference’ as a group of young people arrive in the abandoned house, a woman climbs out of the TV, home film footage is projected, a disembodied hand walks around the stage, disturbed and identically dressed sisters play together, a head spins around and newlyweds appear looking lost in the woods.

However, the breath-taking movement sequences are frustratingly fleeting in favour of further stage effects. Eighty minutes without an interval feels long in a show where the narrative structure is constructed by piecing together a myriad of horror clichés.

Despite this, the theatre is filled with an appreciative audience whose spirit is not dampened by a technical fault, which brings the show to a complete standstill not long after it has begun. There is no denying that this celebration of all things horror has the ability to put bums on seats and offers pure and utter escapism from the much crueller realities that lurks outside its doors.

Rhiannon Brace is a physical theatre practitioner and choreographer, with a focus on community dance theatre. Find her @Rhiannonbrace

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