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!