The theatrical show and podcast The Unseen Hour made its brilliant return to the intimate stage of Pleasance Theatre on the 24th October 2019, with a comically gruesome and intricately sensory production. It involved three actors performing on stage with two special guests performing in the intervals of the program. The live show exhibited its 51st episode (Callirrhoe) with an impressive use of divergent props to create a multitude of auditory effects, holding the audience in a state of pure excitement throughout the performance.
Image courtesy of the Pleasance Theatre
In this newest episode of the horror-comedy, the live radio drama illustrated the story of a foolish coward Rufus Strideforth in a post-apocalyptic world. Within the rotten system of the capitalist and corporate world, themes of unethical testing, body mutilation and selfishness were interwoven into the narrative. The hilariously pathetic characterisation of Rufus continuously evoked roars of laughter from the audience. Specifically, the scene where Rufus imprudently adheres to a ghost’s persuasion to inhale the fatal dust of his own demise was disturbingly hilarious.
The three actors heightened the upcoming Halloween spirit through a variety of on-stage performances. The actors’ use of pumpkins to create the sound of Rufus’ body mutilation was pitifully grotesque. As they scooped out the insides of a pumpkin and splattered the paste-like ‘pumpkin brains’ onto the floor, the visual and audio effect emphasised the sheer dreadfulness of Rufus’s gradual disfigurement. Their use of a variety of chilling whistles and instruments also aptly encapsulated the ghostly atmosphere of late October night.
The light-hearted jokes embedded in the live show were other aspects of the production that were thoroughly enjoyed by the audience, one example being:
“What about the voice that I’ve been hearing?”
“What other voice? Not… not a posh voice with the alphabet song playing in the background…?”
“Oh, don’t… Don’t tell us it was a sophisticated voice with the twinkle twinkle playing in the background…?”
“Mo — mo — more of a smart voice with Ah vous dirai-je, Maman playing in the background.”
“The joke is they’re all the same tune!”
The clever play on the multiple titles available for Mozart’s Twelve Variations on "Ah vous dirai-je, Maman" made the audience chuckle to themselves, as the performance continually entwined elements of horror and comedy into a single narrative.
The performance also featured two special guests performing in the intervals; Anna Maguire performed her wonderfully written monologue in the first. Her sentimental monologue illuminated an intense romance experienced by the speaker; as she reminisced the ardent love of the past, there was something innocently simplistic about the secretive passion between the couple. The speaker’s nostalgic - perhaps even melancholic - tone lingered in the theatre even after the end of her monologue. In the second interval, the talented musician Maguire performed a profoundly sensuous musical piece. Her mellow voice merged beautifully and intrinsically with the delicate notes of the piano to create a whole piece of pleasurable music. The special performances gave an unexpected emotional twist to the otherwise humorous production of this horror-comedy series.
A must-see and a must-listen for anyone who loves bizarrely witty horror stories, the next episode of this production shall be anticipated with great excitement. Although the podcasts lack the visual elements of a live show, it nonetheless engages the audience with its horror-comedic plot and auditory manoeuvres.
Edited by Alexia McDonald, Digital Editor