Brighton Horrorfest 2018 invited audiences to ‘Come to the Castle of Count Jackula’ to see the Foo Foo Fighters’ intriguing and delightfully bloodthirsty burlesque with a Gothic Horror twist. Here women will take their clothes off, but not for the titillation of heterosexual men. This is far more sophisticated and complex than that.
Delightfully bloodthirsty burlesque with a Gothic Horror twist
‘Take your cigarette from your holder,’ sings Count Jackula, the excellent, sardonic and witty compère, ‘and burn your name on my shoulder.’ What is he asking for? Our approval or our disdain? In the end it doesn’t matter. Who cares?
A striptease to the lyric ‘I can wear the pants, with my f**king heels on’ has a frisson of female empowerment and this was not lost on the wildly enthusiastic and predominantly female audience. It’s OK to be sexy. Marylin Manson plays as a backdrop for an invitation to appreciate this unusual take on femininity, transgressive sexuality and masochistic proclivities. It’s OK to be who you are, no matter how that might appear, and it’s fine to celebrate that.
Acts included Dolly Doré, Serona Thornicroft and Lolita Eves. It seems churlish to pull out a favourite in a cast without a dud, but Lydia la Scabies’ lip-synching was eerily perfect and her demeanour was entrancing. Music was lively and Gothic, as one would expect, and helped keep a good pace for the show.
Count Jackula and his helpers, the muscular Egor and the sardonically insouciant and well-buckled Kitten Bear, provided an ambience of tongue-in-cheek mischief. With some well-managed audience participation this was a comfortably uncomfortable invitation to rejoice in the unusual. Bathing in blood may not be everyone’s idea of a good time, but it was certainly appreciated by the audience!
What it boils down to is that a bloody good time was had by all.