The Unholy Trinity

I’m not quite sure why The Unholy Trinity calls itself horror. “Be warned,” says the programme, “the sights you are about to see are not for the squeamish or the delicate of stomach.” There are surprises in the production — including some unusual costumes and a striptease no-one bargained for — but horror is not among them. I guess squeamish can mean several things.

The final segment is as close as we come to character development or, for that matter, plot.

Of its three short plays, the first may be the least coherent. It tells a kind of meta-story about interviews for the third member of the company, beginning with the strangling of a candidate — apparently the sixth in a row. Disturbing. But don’t worry! Abel (Sam Burns) reassuringly informs us that she’s still alive. Then Lili Thorne (Helen Stirling) enters. According to the programme, “she has a hefty dose of female fatale... with a strong emphasis on the fatal!” After the cast members shuffle off following her audition and we sit through a painfully long transition, she returns — in lingerie and a butterfly-like cape! These soon disappear, along with most of her clothes, except nipple caps and thongs. I looked around the audience in consternation. I was the only person there alone, which is a distressing way to see your first striptease.

In the second scene we witness an improbable kidnapping. While Burns is off to fetch tea and Oreos for his prisoner, the man (Jon Lane) tries to escape, and to prevent further attempts his chair is fastened to the ground. Fortunately, the block supposedly screwed into the floor later visibly lifts off it – an example of the kind of technical difficulty the production struggles to overcome. But Lane doesn’t notice. By that point he’s busy masturbating to a replica of Mr Snuggles, his childhood teddy bear. “You’re my dirty bear...!” he says while Burns is out. “You’re my teddy slut...!”

Before the third play, in another warning about the horrors to come, Lane offers us an opportunity to leave. Who would take it? Onwards we fly. This segment is as close as we come to character development or, for that matter, plot: a sinister ex-boyfriend breaks into a couple’s house with dark intentions. A secret is revealed. Tensions run high. Do not quail, however, at the thought of someone stabbing someone else on stage. The thoughtful actors turn their bodies to show you that the knife doing the stabbing is actually — wait for it — reversed, fatally undoing whatever tension this segment (by far the most successful of the three) has managed to construct.

“If you have enjoyed tonight’s offerings,” the programme says, “and would like to be informed of future atrocities...” I guess atrocity can mean several things.

Reviews by Aron Penczu

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The Blurb

Dreamcatcher Theatre. Specialists in Grand Guignol present The Unholy Trinity. Three plays, three actors, three directors. Thrice the terror. Three modern horror plays to terrify, titillate and disturb.

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