The end is nigh, reads the plaque, but it’s only the beginning. Two women in square-shaped lace masks and a man white as the contents of a bag of flour are hovering around the stage. Soon they start screaming/singing at the top of their lungs. Yes doctor, we are dealing with an acute case of absurdist comedy here.
We are dealing with an acute case of absurdist comedy.
Meet Fright Wig, a self-proclaimed trio of decaying fruitcakes including Izzie Major, Sarah Gould and Craig Sinclair. After a successful run of apocalypse-themed performance dinners, the horror triplets from Liverpool have arrived to the Brighton Fringe to 'sacrifice their first theatrical serving of purulent performance pie'. I have absolutely no idea what that means.
What I do know is that their debut show is titled Essential Tremors. Through a series of monologues, sketches and grotesque performances, they drag you laughing and screaming into the abyss exploring the worst aspects of modern Britain on the way down. The horrid tales of murder and mayhem are accentuated with some neat horror tricks to keep the audience at the edge of their seats. I'm not sure about tremors, but they did create a few shivers down my spine.
The show was pitched as Alan Bennett meets Hammer Horror. The Alan Bennett part is clear, depicting madness and sexuality, but how Hammer fits into the show is less obvious. The essence of Hammer films is a fainting virgin courted by lusty creatures of the night; Essential Tremors is closer to Tales from the Crypt.
Essential Tremors offers 50 minutes of macabre mayhem and twisted tales that will appeal to friends of absurdist, macabre horror comedy. Most of the stories are well written, their humour wry and pitch black. They whisper (or sometimes scream) about terrors that happen behind closed doors, in your neighborhood, perhaps just next door, perhaps in your own house. This is what the crisis in mental health funding really looks like.
The first show was a success and the audience lapped it up, taking part eagerly in the horrid proceedings. In some places, there was more enthusiasm than skill in their delivery and they should focus more on drama and less on hassle. With more detail and in-depth characters, stage work and props, the end will not be nigh for these ghouls. In their own words: you would be insane to miss it, and you will be insane if you don’t!