Venue: Sydney Opera House (Sydney NSW), Aug 29 – Sep 2, 2018
Artistic Director: Jakop Ahlbom
Cast: Andrea Buegger, Sofieke De Kater, Yannick Greweldinger, Silke Hundertmark, Gwen Langenberg, Reinier Schimmel, Luc Van Esch, Thomas Van Ouwerkerk
Images by Prudence Upton
The action takes place in a haunted house. No words are spoken, but we know exactly what happens in each moment, mainly because we have seen everything before at the cinema. The horror film genre relies on special effects and creative editing, both technical features unavailable to the live format. In Jakop Ahlbom’s Horror, however, capacities of the stage are pushed to their limit, to achieve something that is best described as a tribute to the great classics of fear and revulsion. The show aims to frighten, and like the vast majority of scary pictures, it is only occasionally successful in that regard, although there is no denying the production’s very persistent entertainment value.
Cleverly designed on all fronts, from set and lights, to hair and makeup, and of course the obligatory cacophony of jolting sounds, Horror is an innovative tapestry of creative imagination. A skilful cast portrays a range of supernatural beings, performing unearthly acts that have us amused and fascinated. It is a well-oiled operation, every moment executed with impressive precision. Some of its gimmicks can feel underwhelming, but the show is ultimately a satisfying one, memorable more for its hits than for its misses.
We are afraid of ghosts, because we understand the mistreatment that people suffer when alive. These beings return from the dead, with nothing to lose, and their vengeance is both justifiable and boundless. To see them, is to think of ourselves at our angriest, except completely unrestrained. Our biggest fear perhaps, is when people believe that they can act without consequence. Ghosts, and so many of our intangible creations, teach us to be good whilst being keenly aware of our capacity to be bad, and telling ghost stories is as though to put a curse on the evil, when they are hiding in plain sight.