Following the success of The House of Bernarda Alba earlier this year, Kismet Theatre Company returned their latest offering of Fear Itself at Queen Elizabeth’s High School.
The show was Kismet’s first devised piece, influenced by Hammer’s portmanteau horrors among others. Kismet took three classic stories by three classic writers - M.R, James’ Casting The Runes, Edgar Allen Poe’s The Black Cat and H.G Wells’ The Red Room.
However, you could be forgiven for thinking that all was not going well as the audience arrived.
In the half dark, the atmosphere was set, when school staff member Mrs Elizabeth Evans told a brief history of the school grounds with an ominous feel to it. Some audience members smelt a rat.
With the audience in the round and after giving us candles to hold in a dimly-lit room, the ten cast members portrayed the three tales of terror in the physical style Kismet are becoming known for, and vividly brought to life not only the characters, but rooms, furniture and sounds, as well as each taking a turn to narrate the tales.
Audience members also needed to keep their wits about them. As if taking their seats in the dark wasn’t enough to unnerve and unsettle, they were also brought into the action of the piece, being asked questions and moved to sit in the acting area at certain points. These clever moves by Kismet kept the audience on edge, and trying to guess what would befall them next.
At the end of the show, the answer came in a mysterious guise fore-shadowed by Mrs Evans. All I’ll say is that, whatever it was, it creeps in the corridor and follows you. Fear Itself is in that room.
By Martyn Horner-Glister