• By Kate Nora
  • |
  • 17th Aug 2019
  • |
  • ★★★★

When three people in white nightgowns run frantically into an attic pouring a circle of salt, you know the devil can’t be far behind.

Dark, messy and expertly crafted.

Ed Easton, Adam Drake and Kath Hughes' show Tarot combines comedy and horror, with sketches based on handmade tarot cards and a lot more dead parent jokes than you might expect. The trio convey a kind of nervous energy that keeps the audience on edge, and we soon realise that no scene is as light-hearted as it first appears.

The sketches don’t always go anywhere in particular, but the medley of styles keeps the show fresh and punchy. Expect the unexpected, and all that. The performers keep us guessing with ambiguous entrances and abrupt, sometimes grisly, twists. One audience member left after a potentially possessed Easton had an “episode”, but our cast were pretty sympathetic. They also had to cope with a young boy in attendance at the very non-PG show, and handled the situation with great humour. The playful improv around the situation left the audience gasping for air.

Thanks to frequent asides to the audience, we learn a lot about the group, including how much a Mooncup costs; where to source an overly large pepper grinder; and how difficult it is to convince Edinburgh City Council to let you use live fire and broken glass in a show. The trio seem very disappointed to see safety prioritised over art.

Easton’s use of physical comedy, as someone who has forgotten how to walk properly in front of their crush, is spectacular. Hughes is the perfect maniacal ex, using a game to divide assets with her partner (“Spin the wheel, prick”), and Drake’s close-up magic gag was probably the cleverest joke of the show. As the group remind us, we are choosing the sketches by selecting tarot cards for them, so no one knows what will happen! Except the performers, who presumably have rehearsed every card-related scene many times. But still, we all enjoy feeling like we have some control over the situation.

Everyone knows that the worst thing a person in a horror movie can do is go into the attic, but in this case you should make an exception. Tarot is dark, messy and expertly crafted. Just remember to leave your kids at home!

Reviews by Kate Nora

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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

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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.
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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.
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The Blurb

The twisted minds of Gein's Family Giftshop ('Brilliant' (Reece Shearsmith)) and sweaty bodies of Goose ('Brilliant' (Guardian)) combine to bring you something brand new: Tarot. In the attic of a cobbled Edinburgh courtyard, a live tarot reading is held. Sketches spin out of the cards and, as the show nears midnight, the significance of the reading as a whole begins to come into focus. Come to have your faith restored in a dying art. Sketch, not Tarot. An interactive, fast-paced sketch show inspired by and based on a love of tarot reading. What will the cards hold for you?

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