Acclaimed comedy troupe Kill the Beast returns to the Fringe with a new show that is a bizarre mash up of Poltergeist and The Room. The performance is at times hysterical, even if it isn’t always able to hit the mark.
An enjoyable enough romp through 70’s nostalgia
Director’s Cut focuses on the troubled production of a 1970’s satanic exploitation film, where the untimely death of the star actress calls for last minute reshoots. As the hapless director tries to wrangle melodramatic actors, misbehaving props and a less than ideal replacement for the deceased star, strange supernatural forces conspire to make things a whole lot worse for everyone involved.
From the outset, the troupe showcase the madcap sense of physicality and comedic timing that has made Kill the Beast such a well regarded comedy company. Every performer is pitch perfect in their roles, embodying the doddering buffoonery of prima donna stage actors or put-upon tortured directors, with suitably exaggerated poise and melodrama. This constant heightened energy keeps the play's forward momentum from being lost in the many costumes changes signalling the multiple characters played, each with their own distinctive neuroses and odd mannerisms. Additionally, the play's breakneck pace is paired with a steady stream of gags. With scarcely a moment going by without an attempt to have the audience in stitches, they build jokes onto jokes to establish brilliant setups and payoffs.
It is, however, unfortunate that despite these many positives, the show is never completely able to reach its full potential. The show's exaggerated tone and melodramatic sense of comedy can, at times, work against it. The over the top vocalizations and shouting on stage meant punch lines and gags were at times rendered inaudible and were lost in the din.
Additionally, the show is never able to weave the horror elements and themes into the production in a way that feels organic. Attempts to unnerve the audience never go far enough to elicit any semblance of fear; rather they distract from the comedy and muddy the tone of the production. In a self-described horror comedy, it is these moments where the unnerving meets the hilarious that should be the highlights of the production. Yet here they feel like add ons to a farce that would have better without them.
Ultimately, Kill The Beast’s new offering is a funny and engaging hour of comedy that, whilst not able to live up entirely to its premise, is still an enjoyable enough romp through 70’s nostalgia and good old fashioned theatrical farce.