Horror
The Civic Theatre, Auckland, NZ
March 21, 2017
4/5 stars
By JESSICA SUO

 

Horror movies like found footage have brought us into the genre for years by crafting the perfect amount of intensity and believability, drawing the viewer into their world. Now, director Jakop Ahlbom has brought this connection to a whole new level with Horror. This stage performance immerses the audience like never before and presents a heart-stopping 70 minutes where if you leave once, you’re not allowed to re-enter!

The stage is set in classic Victorian décor. Dreadful patterned wallpaper, uncomfortable lounge chairs, a free standing radio and a mahogany desk. Each of these elements come into play during the show.

However, the set designer’s genius comes with the division of the stage. The back room is separated by a cloth used for projections and light shows. On stage left there’s a large glass panel acting as windows into the woods, which further depict plot unravelling.

We are first introduced to a trio of friends who have seemingly stumbled into the house on a stormy night… what else? They start playing with the items in the room when suddenly the lights go out. A torch in hand, they look around the stage and like any horror, they miss the scariest elements right on front of them. The audience however, with careful lighting and music, see the supernatural lurking in the corners.

The show jumps between the Victorian time of the house’s previous occupants and the present with the visitors. We see their two storylines play out until they converge in the climax. This can be quite confusing to follow, especially as there is no dialogue in the whole piece. You rely on costumes to distinguish characters, but the same characters feature in both storylines.

Throughout the performance, we saw inspiration being drawn from classics like The Ring, The Exorcist, The Shining and The Evil Dead. I even saw a bit of the Addams Family and the Korean Horror A Tale of Two Sisters come through. It was brilliant to see iconic scenes played out on stage.

It is between these sections, particularly near the end, that needed more refining. The plot seemed to fade away and artistic experimentation took its place.

Nonetheless, it is how the show managed to create special effects on stage which blew me away. You would blink and a cast member disappeared, levitation, contortion, gore and blood, but a nice comedic touch was the Mary Poppins effect and six people squeezed out of a bathtub.

Overall, I loved the show. Every shock they planned, I reacted, and some of the images will be seared into my memory for years to come.

 

Head to this page to get your tickets for Horror at the Auckland Arts Festival… IF YOU DARE!!!

Feeling brave? You should also check out Jessica’s previous article about five found footage classics that are actually scary. MWAHAHAHA!!!

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