As a horror fan, I approached this performance with high expectations; I wanted to be scared, disturbed or mildly agitated at the very least. Unfortunately, this lukewarm retelling left me feeling somewhat cold when what I was expecting was a chilling re-telling of the H.P. Lovecraft’s gothic horror tale, The Call of Cthulu.
Sadly off the mark.
A two-hour, one-man show is always gutsy, but it was difficult to know which character was narrating whose story. This could be more forgiven in a shorter performance that aimed to cram it all in, but as a long, quite drawn out show it proved to be more of a conundrum than even its source material would have hoped for.
The props were also a bit of a let-down. As a bit of a purest when it comes to storytelling, I tend to find props superfluous anyway but if they are absolutely necessary to help drive the narrative I would have hoped for a bit more than a couple of print outs and a scruffy old book with sticky notes.
For a factual lesson in The Call of Cthulu it would have sufficed, but the details that were lingered on seemed trite and didn’t really add anything to the interest of, and certainly not the horror of, the tale. Removing the definition of a bas-relief and a strange introduction about the narrator’s youth spent in Pagan Society would have left more room for the terrifying monster or the murderous cults for which most of us attended. The Brexit reference and point about disused space craft bobbing around in the sea brought it too far into the present when the scene should have been set and kept to in the early 20th century. There was just too much information and not enough gore.
To give credit where it’s due, there were some excellent sound effects of the cultish drumming and the pronunciation of some difficult language was impressive. The personal details were at times quite endearing and the audience did warm to our narrator, particularly his clever dodging of some potentially very racist Lovecraft-esque terminology. However, for an evening of terror at Brighton Horrorfest, it was sadly off the mark.