At the Old Red Lion Theatre, Islington 4th November :
I was originally delighted to stumble upon the London Horror Festival. It took me back to the days of all night screenings of horror films at the Scala cinema. The notorious B movie, Basket Case, is one I will never forget.
So, horror live in a small theatre, seemed even more enticing. The Haunting of Blaine Manor, written and directed by Joe O'Byrne, was created as a throwback to a Hollywood golden age. Glamour and horror with iconic names, I was all for this, and sat down eagerly in this very small theatre upstairs.
Promising set, very detailed, with strong tones of red and velvet. A high backed reading chair, which alone, could produce a shiver up the spine. For the small space, it was a well designed living room, full of faded glamour and on the verge of gothic, but not quite. The main door looked promising, perhaps Vincent Price would enter any moment.
A little late starting, Andrew Yates, and Jo Haydock worked well together with intriguing dialogue. Although Yates was a little shaky with his words, the promise of the unwinding plot forgave this inconsistency. So did Ms Haydock, in her sparkly cocktail dress and Veronica Lake hair.
However, the more characters that entered onstage, the more the play filled with long-winded lines, and an uninspiring plot. Great chunks of dialogue, and lack of build-up. Performances became very lacklustre and unconvincing indeed.
Only Phil Dennison and Peter Slater brought this dull text to life. They needed to.
We, as the audience, felt it's weightiness, and it's strong need for an edit.
Over long, undisciplined and anti climatic, I look forward to next year's Horror festival - I think.