Phantasmagoria

Phantasmagoria is Hookhitch theatre’s adaptation of the Lewis Carroll poem. No, not like the Jabberwocky: rather than invent a lot of nonsense words, the poem analyses the rules and regulations guiding ghosts and the haunted.

As an experience, I highly recommend Phantasmagoria.

The adaptation does rather more than that. In a brief – 20 minute – immersive theatre experience, the production blurs the line between adaptation and dramatisation. A dramatic reading plus props becomes enhanced in the eyes of the teller, until teller and re-teller become one and the same.

Robert Oliver pulls off this contradictory character with an intensity I’ve rarely witnessed. He moves quickly and smoothly between pompous thespian, animated story-teller and Ancient-Mariner style possessed spirit. He grabbed my arms and stared into my eyes, and I could feel my heart beat hard and see the sweat on his forehead. He brought danger into the theatre.

There was also an inspired level of competing fictions. As Oliver’s character attempts to advance his story, he is contradicted by his maid and butler. All quoting deftly from the poetry, this contrast added a level of conflict to an essentially poetic experience. Milin Thomas earned my attention for his cold, measured delivery, which in opposing Oliver’s intensity, brought out the merits of each.

Even the set was precise and deftly handled. Every wall was covered in a makeshift material, alternating pieces of metal, wood and unidentifiable other. The room became a sort of 20th century Lear’s hovel on the heath, an impressive and immersive touch.

So as an experience, I highly recommend Phantasmagoria. However, this is the Fringe, full of penny-pinchers and struggling artists. To those, a £3.50 price tag for a 20 minute experience is a red flag. But the strength of that brief experience justifies my recommendation. Use the extra time to see more of what Edinburgh has to offer.

Reviews by Bennett Bonci

Gilded Balloon Teviot

So You Think You're Funny? Grand Final

★★★
Assembly Rooms

To Hell in a Handbag

★★★★
Gilded Balloon Teviot

Tiff Stevenson: Bombshell

★★★★
Greenside @ Infirmary Street

War of the Sperms

★★★
theSpace on the Mile

Church Blitz

★★★
King's Theatre

The Divide - Part 2

★★★

Since you’re here…

… we have a small favour to ask. We don't want your money to support a hack's bar bill at Abattoir, but if you have a pound or two spare, we really encourage you to support a good cause. If this review has either helped you discover a gem or avoid a turkey, consider doing some good that will really make a difference.

You can donate to the charity of your choice, but if you're looking for inspiration, there are three charities we really like.

Mama Biashara
Kate Copstick’s charity, Mama Biashara, works with the poorest and most marginalised people in Kenya. They give grants to set up small, sustainable businesses that bring financial independence and security. That five quid you spend on a large glass of House White? They can save someone’s life with that. And the money for a pair of Air Jordans? Will take four women and their fifteen children away from a man who is raping them and into a new life with a moneymaking business for Mum and happiness for the kids.
Donate to Mama Biashara now

Theatre MAD
The Make A Difference Trust fights HIV & AIDS one stage at a time. Their UK and International grant-making strategy is based on five criteria that raise awareness, educate, and provide care and support for the most vulnerable in society. A host of fundraising events, including Bucket Collections, Late Night Cabarets, West End Eurovision, West End Bares and A West End Christmas continue to raise funds for projects both in the UK and Sub-Saharan Africa.
Donate to Theatre MAD now

Acting For Others
Acting for Others provides financial and emotional support to all theatre workers in times of need through the 14 member charities. During the COVID-19 crisis Acting for Others have raised over £600,000 to support theatre workers affected by the pandemic.
Donate to Acting For Others now

Performances

Location

The Blurb

We enjoy stories because they have an ending; the falling of a curtain or the shutting of a book. But what happens when we cannot trust our storyteller? The worlds of horror and fantasy collide in a sensory journey of the imagination, as once-extraordinary entertainer Charles Alderdice attempts to bring Lewis Carroll's darkest work to life. Alderdice stumbles between his greatest fantasies and his deepest fears, losing himself and his audience in Carroll's surreal fiction. The troubled whispers of a showman's faded mind lead the audience through this intimate and immersive tale of desperation and delusion. ***** (ThreeWeeks).

Most Popular See More

Cinderella The Musical

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets

The Book of Mormon

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Wicked

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Come From Away

From £18.00

More Info

Find Tickets

The Phantom of the Opera

From £27.00

More Info

Find Tickets

The Mousetrap

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets