THEATRE ROYAL PLYMOUTH – THE DRUM – 13 APRIL 2019
RUNNING TIME 1 HOUR – NO INTERVAL
Theatre Royal Plymouth Box Office – 01752 267222
REVIEW – CORMAC RICHARDS – 11 APRIL 2018
What frightens you? Really frightens you? Phobias are many and various and often exploited in horror films of which there have been many genres over the years. Since it was invented, the cinema has grabbed hold of the scary and the terrifying and put it in front of audiences in the most subtle and most graphic of fashions. Interestingly, this has never been an area that the theatre has taken to its heart, save a few obvious exceptions….The Rocky Horror Show, The Woman in Black, Misery…
Thus, it was so refreshing to have this pseudo-documentary on the elements that scare us in The Theatre Royal Plymouth Young Company’s colourful and tongue-in-cheek show, ‘Creep’. Setting the atmosphere with stories of monsters under your bed, the enthusiastic performers take their tale through the development of cinema history from the monster pictures of the 1930s and 1940s to slasher movies and those creating nightmares through peril and suggestion. It’s great fun.
With the use of excellent projections – particularly the wonderfully graphic posters from films such as ‘Voodoo Woman’ and ‘The Creature From the Black Lagoon’ – the performers attack their material with all guns blazing. The set is rather reminiscent of the creations of those cheap B movies, with wobbly gravestones, giant if unrealistic spiders and bats hovering on the ends of long sticks – this too is splendidly corny. Lighting and sound design were both top-notch in creating exactly the right atmosphere in the theatre
Occasionally the narrative gets a little lost and loses focus such as during the ‘paranoia’ chase sequence and during the rehearsal film about the scary doll, but in general the pace is good and the transitions between scenes are well handled. A tendency to talk at speed makes for a few audio issues, but in the main the performances were clear and with an excellent awareness of the stage craft needed for a show with a large cast.
Overall, there are some wonderfully well observed sequences – the girl predicting a future of horrific phones that take pictures and a book of faces which knows everything about us – hilarious! The performers appeared to have great fun – it transmitted to the packed audience.
Writer and director, Alexandra Ogando has been blessed with a talented creative team and the Young Company make up the performers, stage management and designers. They have done a first rate job.
The Theatre Royal Plymouth Young Company is aimed at 5-25 year olds who are given the opportunity to create theatre and hone their skills with the support of professionals in a fantastic theatre environment. It is one of the biggest youth theatres in the country. This is a huge feather in the cap of the Theatre Royal Plymouth who continually reach out to all aspects of their local (and not so local) community, by being inclusive, forward-thinking and innovative. The work of their Young Company is vital for the development of theatre talent for the future. ‘Creep’ is a wonderful example of how much fun can be had and how young people can acquire skills which will be of great use to them throughout their lives.
‘Creep’ is fun, daft and highly entertaining and not without some universal truths about how horror films can reflect the times they are borne out of. Great stuff!
FAYE WATSON GAVIN
TAYLOR LOUISE BURNARD
WRITER/DIRECTOR – ALEXANDRA OGANDO
ASSISTANT DIRECTOR – BEN ANDERSON
LIGHTING DESIGN – JOHN PURKIS
SOUND DESIGN – DAN MITCHAM
AV DESIGN – MATT HOYLE