sit down for a Sunday roast. Imagine the first time you sat at the dinner table with your new girlfriend’s/boyfriend’s parents. It’s always filled with awkward moments of silence and judging stares which we all can relate to. Well that situation is taken to a hilarious extreme here with Justinian being socially outrageous and vexatious towards the poor Davis. By the end, Justinian truly becomes a real-life monster. It’s shocking and unsettling; however, it really is a testament to Nicholas’ understanding of the genre and talent he possesses.
In summary, What Monsters Do is intelligent, funny, horrifying and thought provoking. The actors are a credit to Nicholas and his production, and the entire stage play comes together under the masterful direction of Philip North.
It was a great mix of humor, drama and - of course - horror. What made this most fascinating is the fact that the real horror in these tales are not that of the boogie man or other things that go bump in the night but the real life horrors that we - as human beings - inflict upon each other.
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Review: What Monsters Do
By Anthony Silver - 28th October 2013
We recently interviewed Nicholas Vince about his works and his new stage play, What Monsters Do. Nicholas has adapted two of his dark stories from page to stage and has brought them to life as a Hidden Basement production at the Etcetera Theatre in Camden as part of the London Horror Festival 2013.
We had the chance to go along to see the play over its three-day performance, and we were not disappointed.
Why are humans inherently evil? Because humans are biologically programmed to meet our own survival needs - our desires naturally come before others. Unfortunately, this of course is at the sacrifice of others' needs and wants. These are some of the themes and ideas Nicholas has asked us to think about in these two dark tales.
The play consists of two twenty-five minute stories. The first story being Tunes from the Music Hall. We begin in the Victorian era with a young man in a room (Doug Colling) – who also plays narrator to this well-acted story) who has clearly experienced a recent trauma, as indicated by the scars on his face and his monochromatic white eye. He seems very sad and alone until we meet Albright, the landlord (Mark Philip Compton) who is trying to rent the house to Rudolf (Craig Hannah). We find out that the young man is in fact a ghost who was murdered in the house. After Rudolf agrees to rent the property, we meet his Wife Bella (Tara Howard) and their young daughter Victoria (voiced by Tallulah Ward). All seems well with the family until Rudolf’s estranged friend Angelo (Harpreet Chagger) enters their lives again. Rudolf begins to neglect Bella by spending a concerning amount of time with Angelo. This results in a shocking turn of events with a distraught Bella fighting to keep her family together and the ghost is outraged by what he is witnessing. The story behind the nameless ghost blends in very well with that of the main family helping to bring the story to a dramatic ending. Needless to say it all comes to a head in a superbly acted Dickensian style ghost story. It is filled with moments of brilliant wit and humor as well as dealing with dark themes of love, lust and revenge.
The second story is Green Eyes. Although this is not as dark and intense in tone as the first story, it deals with true monsters and is in my opinion, even more chilling and disturbing. We meet Justinian (Compton) and his wife Sally (Melanie Fenn) who are awaiting the arrival of a guest for dinner. The visitor is a young man named Davis (Colling again – who seems to have more fun in this role).
The Narrator (Hannah) has a more traditional, less interactive role. Justinian comes across as a very disturbed man with serious issues; he strokes and talks to the family cat in a maddening way which leads to more laughs. There is a scene where the three