Horror at the Peacock Theatre
What generates fear, and why do we love so much to be terrified? That is what Jakop Ahlbom’s Horror aims to explore. As a love letter to the horror films that both scared and delighted the director in his youth, this performance at the Peacock Theatre could so easily have fallen too far into parody, or collapsed under the weight of pastiche. But the end result is a balletic feat of theatre, mixed with clever cinematography, a great soundtrack and a story with depth.
Forming part of the 2016 London International Mime Festival, Horror tells the story of a young woman’s return to the old house in which she used to live with her parents and sister. But the house has a sinister past, and, as the fate of her sister is slowly revealed via a series of wonderfully presented, funny nods to classic horror flicks like The Ring, The Exorcist, and The Shining, the narrative takes on a psychological aspect. It becomes the heady emotional suspense, and the idea of love pushed to its limits, that make the production so captivating. It is clear from the play that Ahlbom’s least favourite movies of the genre are slasher films.
With a stage that functions as a house with lounge and kitchen, a forest, and a large screen, Horror’s successes are marked in particular by the skilful choreography and classic horror-movie soundtrack (both executed perfectly by the Jakop Ahlbom Company’s sterling troupe of performers). Such a profound tale of familial distress, child abuse and sisterly love is told without anybody uttering more than a word, but far from being empty, it feels like no words are needed.
Whilst non-horror fans may find themselves at a loss when confronted with the references, however blatant, and whilst the imitative nature of the production can sometimes encroach on its excellent personal qualities, Horror manages to transcend the background and influences that it so openly espouses. It does classic, solid horror very well – and terrifies you into feeling good.
Horror is on at the Peacock Theatre from 25th until 26th January 2016, for further information or to book visit here.
Watch a trailer for Horror here: