Is That A Bolt In Your Neck?
The Drum, Theatre Royal Plymouth
Take sinister goings-on at the castle on the hill above an Eastern European village, a mad professor, locals brandishing pitchforks (and rabbits), misogyny, a Cambridge dandy, love interest, a ghostly face at the window and all that jazz and it’s Hammer Horror for all the family.
Following hits with Grimm And Grimmer, The Thing That Came From Over There and What The Dickens, Gonzo Moose is back with its 12th show since its inception in 2000, a comedy horror bursting with silliness and mayhem.
Guarded by ancient commentating gargoyles who have weathered centuries of battle, blood and murder mystery weekends, the enigmatic bastion of cutting edge science is attracting attention since the local gravedigger is sure he has seen the long dead lady of the house risen from the grave he knows he put her in.
And indeed, Professor Chekhov has electrifying plans to resurrect his shockingly lost love and restore her mother to his only child.
It is a wet and windy night that blows Dr Toogood into their lives with his theories on revivication, women, exploding spiders and picnics to brighten lonely Anastasia’s horizons and perhaps help realise more than one dream.
Written by Gonzo Moose in a swift brainstorm, and with some dozen or more characters played by Mark Dawson, Leah Fletcher and Jonathan Peck, a succession of very clever or funny or slapstick or sweet moments unfold: family portraits, dancing with the dead and a medley of feelgood vignettes of life in the lab particular highlights.
The pub / village hall is populated by wittering vicar, doleful Joe, twin motormouth barmaids and poacher as pitchfork protocol is pronounced, 50 Sugar Plum fairies freeze their tutus off as the agenda for the pre-storming the castle meeting is set and the fourth wall is broken repeatedly to pantomimic effect.
Between times, some faffing about and overlong motifs diluting the delight could be edited but overall a pleasant—or more given the raucous adult laughter and buzzing children—100 minutes (including an interval).
Reviewer: Karen Bussell