He Had Hairy Hands

Having taken the Fringe by storm last year with their debut piece The Boy Who Kicked Pigs, young and incredibly talented theatre company Kill The Beast returns to The Pleasance with He Had Hairy Hands and it is something to behold. Sending up 70s monster horror with perfectly tuned pastiche and hitting every scene with ingenious gags and wordplay, this is comedy theatre at its best.

The grotesque performance style gives the whole production a feel and aesthetic that is unique

The play, devised by the assembled actors and director Clem Garritty, begins with a back-alley birth of a not-so-ordinary, overly hairy child who gets abandoned and left for dead. Flash forward twenty or so years to a home counties village in the foggier climes of England and there is a beast terrorising the town - not just by tearing down their bunting. What follows is an enthralling romp through the twists and turns of any good supernatural mystery, with a bucket-load of jokes thrown in for good measure.

Performances are incredibly strong from the cast of four. The impressive pace at which they reel through a myriad of different characters keeps the audience on their toes, pulled along by the narrative at a great pace. Things never let up, so nothing becomes stale or boring. Perfectly formed moments such as the montage of people searching all across the globe to find Whitechapel have the actors swapping and changing characters left right and centre with pinpoint physicality and vocal finesse. The main roles are also played with wonderful stylistic precision, with the more tender moments between characters shining out every time. The use of music and song in the show adds another dimension to the performances, although the sentiment occasionally gets lost as the sheer amount written into the songs means that at times it is difficult to understand.

The comedy written into the piece complements the style perfectly, with off-the-wall sight gags and Zucker-esque wordplay coming thick and fast. The grotesque performance style gives the whole production a feel and aesthetic that is unique and sets itself ahead of many other theatre shows on at the Fringe. Kill The Beast have absolute bags of ingenuity and this ludicrously inventive show cements them as one theatre company who are destined for huge things.

Reviews by Andy Smith

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The Blurb

The year is 1974, the town is Hemlock-Under-Lye and when werewolf attacks threaten teatime, there's only one person you can call... Having splattered the UK with critically acclaimed debut show The Boy Who Kicked Pigs, macabre comedy-knitters Kill the Beast return with a brand-new tale of supernatural slaughter. Combining beautiful visuals, original music, quite an important pigeon and several different hats, He Had Hairy Hands will take you on a dark, tangled journey through an exceptionally horrifying mystery. ‘A scorchingly talented company’ **** (TimeOut). ‘Wickedly clever’ ***** (WhatsOnStage.com). ‘Bitingly funny’ **** (Fest).