Monster Madness

I love monsters. I genuinely do. They can be the single most fascinating form of aesthetic and artistic expression to help understand fears in society and to achieve catharsis from trauma. To look at how a monster stands in for fear or political power imbalances makes it a wonderful allegorical tool. The same goes for comedy: in comedy you can say things that might otherwise be too outrageous. Marrying monsters with comedy therefore has the potential to be both subversive and hilarious.

Disappointingly, Monster Madness is not the roaring romp it should have been.

All Saints Academy's monstrous offering as part of the Fringe’s America High School Theatre Festival is neither funny nor scary and lacks any insight or punchline. In Monster Madness the bickering Miss Terious (see what they did there?) and Mister Grimm guide us through a set of original sketches which evolve around everyday people or situations. These are then turned on their heads by monsters intruding on them: an estate agent gets into a pickle when Count Dracula shows up, the Bachelorette with Frankenstein's Monster, a mummy as housewife and mother - you get the picture.

The idea is already thinly spread across five sketches but never gets realised because the direction doesn't trust the power of the various comedy genres - Monster Madness' slapstick is not silly enough, the one-liners don't zing and the self-aware ramblings are overexplained.

The show, under the supervision of Paul Hughes, features a cast of young amateur performers deprived of an opportunity to demonstrate their talents; the lack of reflection and responsibility on the director's part in greenlighting the sketches in this form and then exposing the young people to an audience at an international festival is quite frankly staggering.

Disappointingly, Monster Madness is not the roaring romp it should have been.

Reviews by Annegret Marten

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The Blurb

This is a fast-paced, sketch style comedy show based around the monsters of the early 20th century. The laughs and screams are non-stop as the cast of Monster Madness lead you through a hysterical retelling of horror classics.