Jakop Ahlbom Company: Horror review – a razor-sharp delight

Peacock theatre, London
Jakop Ahlbom’s loving homage to horror films is a masterclass in time-and-motion stagecraft

Jakop Ahlbom’s brilliantly strange Lebensraum was one of the cult successes of last year, and last week, as part of the 2016 London international mime festival, Ahlbom and company returned with Horror, another wonderfully entertaining slice of physical theatre. As its name suggests, the show is a homage to the multiple categories of film horror, and to individual genre masterpieces. The piece opens, as so many spine-chillers do, with the participants arriving at a deserted house. The weather is stormy, naturally, and they are wearing red rubber rain capes, a signifier of the perversity to come.

The set is grim. Frowsty brown wallpaper, a picture window overlooking the encroaching forest, a dismally institutional upper room. Things swiftly get weird. Clocks climb the wall, a television switches on unbidden, and children’s cries echo through the house. We encounter a pair of spectral sisters, the victims, we learn, of brutally sadistic parents. We see them flitting through the forest in their nightgowns playing hide and seek, and in one scene, possibly influenced by the gothic-erotic Italian giallo cinema of the 70s, exchanging their antique bloomers for porny red knickers (it goes without saying that the sisters are demonically possessed). The visitors, meanwhile, have problems of their own. A hand takes on a malign life of its own, assaulting its owner, and has to be chopped off (a big moment, this, for fans of arterial splatter). Soon almost everyone has been killed – knife in back, spike in eye, tongue ripped out and eaten – but will the dead stay dead? Will they hell.

The weather is stormy, naturally, and they are wearing red rubber rain capes, a signifier of the perversity to come

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Source: Guardian Dance News

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