Cinebra: A History Of Horror

Dark and dramatic, tension-packed, teen-angst parody. Seventeen-year-old BFFs Sophie and Megan present a seminar about horror movies.

Dark and dramatic, tension-packed, teen-angst parody.

The art-deco style Rialto Theatre was a perfect venue; on entry to the performance space, an appropriately spooky atmosphere was created using gothic organ music and flickering lights. The stage was set with a vast array of props and iconography from the horror genre. A pair of ardent Cinebra fans, dressed up as Sophie and Megan, sat in the front row.

The show opened with black and white, 1970s style crackly movie trailer and advert for Cinebra’s CD of songs from the show, as well as an ad for their other Fringe show.

Alexander Joseph’s characterisation of Sophie, with nasal voice and snorts for laughter drew the audience in, whilst Megan (Ro Robertson) introduced their ‘seminar’ on the history of horror with a range of PowerPoint slides. Robertson’s character depicted teenage angst, insecurity and awkwardness to a tee. The tension created between the two characters was dynamic and held the audience spellbound.

Their first musical number, the duo singing, accompanied by Megan on ukulele, recounted their friendship and how they met at school. Great vocal harmonies resulted in Sophie needing her inhaler!

The plot centres on Sophie’s jealousy of Megan’s new friendship with the cool Abigail; FaceTime calls show Abigail’s attitude and set the scene for a spooky series of events, following the purchase of a necklace from Snooper’s Paradise. Song two, entitled The Abigail Swanson Syndrome centred on obsession with selfies and teenage gal-pals holding each others’ hair back, as they puke over a gravestone.

Film buffs will enjoy the copious director and actor name drop references, while Debbie Gibson fans (!) will welcome niche references to her back catalogue.

The horror genre trope of ‘Final Girl', the last woman alive in many horror films who is left to confront the killer, is explored in a third song. The heart of darkness lurking in the depths of the show centres on how the bullying of Carrie in the iconic shower and high school prom scenes is transferred to Sophie; sadness and dramatic tension stalk the aisles. Sophie breaks some of the tension by delivering a classic teen strop out of the room, complete with stomping footsteps and door slamming.

The friends’ rift is healed when Sophie returns to the stage, to accompany Megan in another song, this time involving call-and-response audience participation, accompanied by an edited showreel of key moments from Friday 13th.

The plot takes a dark and dramatic twist, enabling the duo to display impressive acting skills as they undergo an extreme ‘transformation’ of character, which is sustained across the final quarter of the show. They ‘sing’ a vicious diatribe against Megan, who responds by calling upon the skills of Julie Andrews (see the show to find out how) to fix the situation. The show ends with a poignant reprise of the opening friendship song. The encore piece is silly fun, with the audience singing along.

The duo are clearly a pair of talented perfomers, writers and musicians who have clearly invested themselves in order to produce a unique and entertaining performance.

Reviews by Annabel Pribelszki

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The Blurb

The award-winning show returns! Sophie and Megan invite you to their seminar. Tensions are running high between the 'adorkable' duo since Megan has befriended the most popular girl in college. As the seminar progresses through scares and song, a threatening supernatural force begins to rear its head. As Sophie and Megan's own horror narrative begins to unravel, they wonder who will be the 'Final Girl'? A multimedia frenzy featuring live scares and unforgettable songs, this show is a unique, heart-wrenching, hybrid horror/musical comedy that leaves you convulsing in terror and delight!