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Theatre review: Terror 2011: Love Me To Death 
5th-Nov-2011 10:13 pm
I prefer not to go to the final night of a show, just on the off-chance that someone actually reads one of my reviews and wants to see it as a result, but tonight's final performance was the only time I could actually make it to Terror 2011: Love Me To Death. The annual Terror show moves this year to Soho Theatre's new Downstairs cabaret venue, and the cabaret feel does help make the portmanteau format work a bit better, the five playlets (the first two directed by Hannah Eidinow, the remaining three by Matt Peover) interspersed with Desmond O'Connor and Merrill Grant performing ghoulish songs including a scary lullaby and the love song of Fred and Rose West.

Dave Florez's The Waiting Mortuary is a piece of Victoriana based around the idea of hanging a bell on a corpse's toe in case he isn't really dead, with Alan Francis, Stephen Evans, and a very briefFULL FRONTAL MALE NUDITY ALERT!from Simon-Anthony Rhoden; someone's head impeded my view but Richard assures me it was an impressive sight. Then Eleanor Buchan performs Mad About The Boy, devised by herself and Lucy Kirkwood, a gory striptease where bits of the stripper come off with the clothes. Amanda Lawrence performs Carl Grose's rhyming monologue Wormy Close, one of the highlights of the evening featuring a dead wife, a scarecrow that comes to life, toxic waste and suspiciously large vegetables. Then Rhoden and Buchan in Tom Holloway's If I Should Stay I Would Only Be In Your Way, a stylised tale of a suicide attempt gone horribly wrong, that didn't quite work for me. For me the strongest piece (though Richard disagreed, finding it a bit overlong) was Jack Thorne's closer The Gong. The gorgeous Ciaran Kellgren (I hadn't noticed a slight Daniel Radcliffe resemblance before; I reckon triomakesmehot would rather like him) wanders around the tables as a Cambridge student from a poor background whose attempts to get in with the posh boys lead to a genuinely horrific hunt. I found it excellently written and performed.

Overall I thought this year's show had the edge on last year's, though it's still very much a mixed bag. The input from multiple writers means a bit of repetition (the trick of going to a total blackout and having people make creepy noises behind the audience is used three times) and they're not quite agreed on what effect they're really trying for - most of the stories go for a comic horror effect with a dose of gore, while Thorne goes all-out to disturb with a bit of political satire thrown in. Neither of the Terror shows I've seen have been classics, but entertaining enough to make me consider going again to wherever it winds up next year.

Terror 2011: Love Me To Death by Dave Florez, Lucy Kirkwood, Eleanor Buchan, Carl Grose, Tom Holloway and Jack Thorne ended tonight at Soho Theatre Downstairs.
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