20 October 2010
By Michael Holland
After a refreshing Meantime Pale Ale to take away the stress of rush hour driving, and a debate on the pronunciation of Greenwich (Grinnidge not Grennidge) I was just about ready to be terrorised in the Southwark Playhouse’s Terror Season.
Terror 2010 this year deals with Death and Resurrection so cue a graveyard load of zombies and mad scientific experiments going wrong. A full house of 50% beautiful people and half like they had dressed for the occasion were squeezed into the auditorium like fish in a trawl net and sat in anticipatory fear awaiting their fate.
The evening was nicely introduced by Sarah-Louise Young as the nurse from hell, informing us we would be pummelled to death if our phone went off during the performance or if we did not clap.
The first play, Mark Ravenhill’s The Exclusion Zone, involved camp camping and a zombie song and dance troupe. Being played out with just torchlight added to the feel of impending doom in this work that was slashed through with comedy.
Nurse then sang about Top Yourself Today before The Unimaginable, a one-man Neil LaBute piece on child kidnappers, feeding off every parents’ main fear. This nicely led into the break, giving people the chance to check with their babysitters.
Country, by April De Angelis, started with promise but seemed to quickly fade away to a rushed and forced ending, which is what the final piece, William Ewart’s Reanimator should have done. Instead it seemed to die then revive, like the victims of the mad doctors’ experiments, an interminable number of times.
It began in comic brilliance with a dead rabbit being brought back to life, which then had to be killed for being a vampire rabbit. The killing of the newly revived creature brought shocks of horror from my partner, but more because she’s a vegetarian than anything gruesome.
Alas, Reanimator sadly struggled to stay alive after that. From somewhere in America it somehow ended up in the trenches of Flanders, but by that time I had given up wondering why and just wanted them to all meet their deaths. In a grisly fashion at the hands of the audience, I imagined if it had gone on any longer. No such luck in a series of Resurrection plays.
Terror 2010 is quite a bit of fun which overall is nicely written. The nurse’s song about still loving her husband as he rots away next to her is a highlight. But as for being scared, the rumble of the trains pulling into London Bridge Station above is the creepiest thing about it.
Southwark Playhouse, Shipwright Yard (Corner of Tooley St. & Bermondsey St.) London SE1 2TF
Box Office: 0207407 0234
Tickets £8, £13, £18 (airline-style pricing; book
early for lowest price)
12 – 31 October 2010 Monday to Saturday 7.30 pm. Matinees at 3 pm Saturdays.
Special Halloween season finale Sunday 31
October 7.30 pm
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