Scare Slam 2021 at Pleasance Theatre
The air is thick, smoky and sweet as the audience is led into a dank, dimly lit room downstairs at the Pleasance Theatre for the sixth annual Scare Slam. This variety show hosts a mix of comedy, horror poetry, short stories, terrifying children’s tales and a rap inspired by Shelley, Keats and Jay Z.
The show opens with The Woman on the Ceiling, a spoken word horror story for the modern day: when someone sneezes on the back of our narrator’s neck, she contracts Covid and has to spend ten days in isolation. As her fever grows, so does her fear. There is a spider-like woman crawling on her ceiling, and things get weird. Julie Barnett does a great job telling this tale; her voice rises as the action heats up, but she also manages to incorporate humour in this dark tale. The imagery is rich, and she describes the feeling of sleep paralysis with chilling precision.
Another highlight is Feed the World, in which the everyday benevolent hopes for “more food, less hunger, less suffering” are brought to a bloodthirsty conclusion. Natalie Winter’s sweet, nervous demeanour is perfectly insidious, and her creepy doll voices are nightmarishly memorable. Sam Greenwood’s Mr Tumnus subverts the beloved children’s classic and highlights just how creepy four-year-olds can be. Compere Ellie Pitkin brings an intimate, self-deprecating and friendly vibe to the show – and she terrifies viewers with some “moral” 18th century children’s fables that l make them cherish their thumbs and throw away the matches.
Scare Slam is a great evening of new horror, comedy and escapism for the next generation of scare fans. The world is chaos, the days are dark and we don’t know when our freedom is going to slip away, but during evenings like this, fans of the spoken word we can come together to laugh, gasp and shudder at horrors which, as chilling as they are, make sense in a way the real world never does.
Scare Slam 2021 was at Pleasance Theatre on 24th October 2021. For further information or to book visit the theatre’s website here.