Kill the Beast: Don't Wake the Damp

The reason to go and see Don’t Wake the Damp is simply for the moment after you’ve walked out, sat down with your pint, and think: ‘There’s no way I could’ve predicted anything that happened in there.’ To wrap Kill The Beast’s third show up in a nutshell would be to allow the ‘nut’ a coconut status, but here goes... It’s the story of a jaded, ex-TV actress June who, amidst clutter and casseroles, is visited by council planner Terry who forces her to evacuate her tower block because it’s being invaded by damp. Oh, and it’s 2035. And June was the sidekick in an eighties sci-fi show. And ‘damp’ isn’t what we think it is.

Don’t Wake the Damp’s silliness overtakes its sentiment

Spending an hour in a room with Kill The Beast is akin to spending rain-day playtime with the four most hyper people in your class – explanations are elaborate (borderline nonsensical), but paralleled with surprisingly well-choreographed numbers. ‘The Damp Is Rising’, where the team make the most of their screens-on-wheels set-up, is performed to a West End standard and, like the bacteria itself, lingers for a while after it’s introduced. Character Terry, who leads the number, strikes the perfect balance – here, and throughout – between simple and sinister. Unfortunately, confusion is to be had where the others play characters both in the TV show past and the tower block present. A lack of clarity turns what could be a quirky, multi-layered plot into a perplexing one. Like a coconut – what’s inside is not the most robust and actually comes out flooding, at speed.

The energy with which Kill The Beast transport you, however, cannot be contested. We’re nothing if not taken back there, to a time a before, to a style of things that, no matter whether you were born in ‘55 or ‘95, is equally nostalgic. Interesting questions are posed about the merits of fandom; in a scene between June and her obsessed tower block resident, we’re encouraged to ponder why it is that society needs idols, and what happens when the veil is lifted. Whether homage or parody to the shows we loved as kids, Don’t Wake the Damp’s silliness overtakes its sentiment so any message is hard to decipher in the madness.

Reviews by Eva Hibbs

Summerhall

Heather

★★★
Summerhall

Ancient Shrines and Half Truths

★★★★
Pleasance Courtyard

Let Me Look at You

★★★★
Summerhall

Ramy: In the Frontline

★★★★
Pleasance Courtyard

Kat Bond: Loo Roll

★★★★
Pleasance Courtyard

Briony Redman: Theory of Positivity

★★

Performances

Location

The Blurb

Evil is rising. Grab a mop. Multi award-winning comedy captains Kill the Beast present a new twisted tale inspired by 80s sci-fi, 90s gaming and cracking superhero theme tunes. From the brains behind The Boy Who Kicked Pigs and He Had Hairy Hands, Don't Wake The Damp is a non-stop, neon rollercoaster of shocks, shadows and shameless wigs. Original music, astounding projection and trademark dreadful faces – dare you find out what's waiting in the dark? 'A scorchingly talented young company' (Time Out). 'Incredibly, unbelievably funny' (List). 'A deliciously macabre affair' (Stage).