Grimm sparks grins [by Sharu Delilkan and Tim Booth]
It was impossible to ignore the writing on the wall as we walked up the stairs to the Basement Studio. A closer look revealed the actual script that had been penned by none other than Ghastly Dash Grimm: A Tale Of Unease’s writer/director Benjamin Henson.
Ben Anderson’s dramatic stage design was the first thing that assaulted our senses as we took our seats. The slightly skewed quirky and asymmetrical stage made us feel slightly off-kilter right from the start, which literally set the stage for the entertainment that ensued.
The lack of colour (black and white) used for the set, costume as well as makeup set the tone perfectly, making for the perfect Adams-family–esque and ‘Tales from the Crypt’-like ambience.
Like many others in the audience I was keen to get a helping of fiendish fun and ready to jump out of my skin once the house lights were dimmed. However I must admit I didn’t quite feel as scared as expected – which isn’t a bad thing. In fact what I caught myself doing a lot of the time was grinning from ear to ear – which can only be attributed to Henson’s uncanny ability to push comedic boundaries above and beyond your wildest expectations. That being said both my husband and I thought that the audience didn’t laugh out loud enough – despite the fabulously tongue-in-cheek OTT performances and lines delivered to perfection. Maybe they thought they had come to see a serious horror show instead (because of the title ‘A tale of unease’) – a ghastly mistake on their parts, I’m sure!
Thomas Press’ attention to detail was indeed a feast for the ears with 133 sound events over 40 sound cues. The amazing soundscape was also superbly complemented by Brad Gledhill and Rachel Marlow’s suitably dramatic lighting design. All of which provided a great backdrop resulting in heightened production values, possibly the best I’ve experienced in the Basement Studio.
Jason Hodzelmans shines as the lead Victor. Everyone in the cast – Jordan Mooney (hunchbacked Trowel and Captain), Naomi Cohen (Jasset), Phoebe Mason (Marigold), Eli Matthewson (Hugo) and Emma Newborn (Awe/Edith) – was deliciously devilish. It was great to see them almost competing against one another – in keeping with the light-hearted spirit of things – to be the most outrageously creepy character on stage. Paul Lewis’ as Grimm is flawless. His fabulously dramatic narration is the glue that holds that whole show together.
Henson’s stamp of extreme hilarity definitely comes through, making it a great highly enjoyable evening out. And if you’ve yet to make plans for Halloween tomorrow don’t miss out on the additional midnight show – I’m sure will be ghastly-grimm!
Presented by Fractious Tash, Ghastlydash Grimm: A Tale Of Unease plays at The Basement until 1 Nov. Details see The Basement