Reviewed by Michaela Clement-Hayes
Charing Cross Theatre – 10th October 2013
When a play is billed “A rip roaring gothic farce” the start time of 10pm would seemingly hint that it’s pretty scary and the director wants to intensify the audience’s fear. However, the lateness of the hour only increases the number of people yawning in the audience.
James Faulkner (Josh Haberfield) is a troubled man. Desperate to break the curse ahead of his impending death, he seeks out an undertaker (Neil Henry) to help him. Together they journey afar to exorcise Faulkner’s deceased grandma, encountering many strangers and mysterious occurrences on the way.
Unfortunately the audience would have been far better off if both men had just resigned themselves to death – we could have all gone to bed a lot sooner, instead of sitting through a production which was confusing and just a little bit too random (just ask someone about the geese).
The actors do make the best efforts to bring the play to life and their enthusiasm helps to keep the audience mildly entertained. Writer Tim Downies does manage to produce several well-deserved laughs from the audience and the scene on the train (although reminisce of The 39 Steps), is quite amusing.
However, scary it was not – despite the suitably chilling music from Chris Bartholomew – and the silliness just doesn’t quite warrant the term ‘farcical’.