Pros: A wonderful telling of a haunting true crime; a fascinating watch.
Cons: One hour isn’t enough time for a case that could be mulled over for hours!
The Old Red Lion Theatre is playing host to the London Horror Festival. The largest performing arts festival of horror started in 2011, and in its seventh year is showing nearly two dozen different shows. I was lucky enough to see a sold-out performance of Bête Noire Productions’ Father of Lies on the scariest night of all: Halloween. Something about seeing everyone in the pub beneath the theatre in costume and ready for a spooky night was really invigorating. I have to say that I really enjoy being able to see a later show, with Father of Lies starting at 9.30pm.
The Halloween performance, written and performed by Sasha Roberts and Tom Worsley, is a great mixture of discussion and theatre surrounding the mystery of an unsolved murder in Germany. It’s a truly fascinating story. A priest haunted by the dead, mysterious cults and footprints to nowhere make for an intricate case to consider. It was a shame that there was only an hour for the tale to be told. Billed as ‘Making a Murderer meets Rosemary’s Baby’ you get the idea clearly; picture a true crime documentary with re-enactments, and you’re pretty much there. An exciting concept that had a packed audience (some were even sat on the stairs!) ready and raring to go.
The opening of the evening, on paper, didn’t sound too exciting. A bit of a discussion on the themes of God, the Devil, magic and ghosts. But involving the audience, asking for our experiences and beliefs, was actually an effective way at involving us right from the beginning. We questioned our beliefs and listened as others told of stories of hauntings they’d experienced. A perfect way to start an evening of questioning the story to be told.
The mixture of fact and fiction, the story-telling and story-showing, was truly great; I’ve never seen anything quite like it. The performances, at times, did fall short of the feeling they were trying to portray, but it was great to have these poignant moments in the case played out for us. The beautifully haunting setting of the bare, black theatre worked hugely in their favour with the simple lighting. The pew-like benches we were sat on fell short of spacious, but gave the feeling of being somewhere quite eerie. An old fashioned slide projector helped us visually through the story, but best of all was Roberts and Worsley telling the mystery for what it was.
Written by: Sasha Roberts and Tom Worsley
Produced by: Bête Noire Productions
Booking until: This show has now completed its run.