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Photo credit: Marc Brenner

If you're a horror film fanatic and love all things based around the genre of the horror, you could have found something new in this horror stage show…Shock Horror!

On Saturday the 7th of October, I saw Yorkshire based theatre company Thunder Road Theatre's...Shock Horror!

Shock Horror follows Herbert, played by Alex Moran and his family mum - Norma played by Chloe Procter, dad - Jack played by Joseph Carter and priest Karras played by Chris Blackwood, through his past and present life, where he was shut away from the outside world. He then comes back to the same haunted cinema that he lived at and is faced with the horrible memories that come flooding back to him.

Initial thoughts of this show was that one, was it going to be scary as I’m not at all a horror genre person but like to see different theatre, and two how will this genre, that is absolutely loved by many, be performed on stage.

Shock Horror plays at 1 hour 10 minutes with an interval. Like always, my reviews are 100% honest and I will always justify my ratings, thoughts and feelings, always giving constructive feedback and my opinions are my own.


Photo credit: Marc Brenner

Written and directed by Ryan Simons, Ryan does deliver a good concept by referencing various horror films within the script and mentioning them throughout. You can see the inspiration and foundations of this show really well, the plot was good and it was engaging enough and was easy to understand without getting lost and I did enjoy it and do think Ryan does write the script with great ideas and love for the genre, and also gets the audience to feel that they are watching a movie.

But unfortunately this is kind of where it stops as some of the bits didn’t seem right or weren't written how they could have been. For instance at the start of the show the first line from Alex seems to be directed at the audience, which then makes you feel that you will be part of the action and involved at some point in the show, which was kind of making you excited of what could come. But unfortunately no actions were pointed at us, I think this could have been an excellent thing to do to try and get an extra scare factor in and I think it was just a missed opportunity.

Unfortunately another thing that was missed was the endings of both acts; they both felt somewhat of an anti-climax. Both acts could have ramped up action to give a really heart-racing moment but again it was a little miss, it left me feeling awkward a little and I think the audience felt it too, as right at the very end you shouldn’t have to have someone from the technical box tell the audience that was the end of the show or an usher tell us that it's an interval while we sit in awkward silence because we should know when these are and they needed to be clearer.

Ryan Simons brings some good direction with getting Alex moving and filling the space brilliantly. As Alex is the only performer on stage, as the others are shown on the cinema screen behind, but I do feel that the screen could have been used less but I do see why this screen was used as the intention was to to make the audience be able to define that it was a memory of the past and Herbert was reliving this memory in his mind, a really good example and usage of multimedia production.

Overall the whole story was really good and was original with many references throughout with really good direction to get one performer that fills a space and grab audience attention, a few little jumps from thunder to screaming I was hoping for a few more.


Photo credit: Marc Brenner

Alex Moran plays Herbert, Alex gives a great performance throughout, grabbing audience attention throughout and his characterization was really good. You can see acting techniques which allow us to understand Herbert’s feelings, both from the past and in the present. As one person on stage Alex really displayed the strength of holding up a show as other cast members are on screen, he did well to interact with the action on the screen and switch between the past and present, you could see the differences between each clearly through the movement. A very well done performance.

With supporting cast members on the screen doing a great job of creating and helping the feelings of Herbert’s life, all give an insight and help the present day Herbert’s characterisation really well. All four of the cast members do a brilliant job of working with the genre on stage/screen and Chloe, Chris & Joseph all do a good job of using screen acting but for stage and it wasn’t over done as it was just the right level we needed to understand the characters and their impact on Herbert’s life.

The technical side of the show accomplishes what it’s there to do, with great lighting from Joe Price, Joe’s design really helps and tries to give us the atmosphere and feeling the audience should have. With sound design by Beth Duke, Beth has the sound like whispers and dialogue coming from all areas around the auditorium making an atmosphere. Set design by Ethan Cheek, Ethans set gives old abandoned cinema, the set feels how it should throughout and is exactly what it’s supposed to be.

I think overall the show has some missed opportunities and needs some tweaks and additions. It is certainly not a bad show. I just think a few things needed to be thought through more and the scares needed to be aimed at the audience, rather than back at Herbert’s character. This show has potential to scare as the dialogue was setting it up for something to happen, but it was missed.

A horror show with all the right elements and ideas, but needs more scares…and that's from me who doesn’t usually like horrors!

Shock Horror is touring until November 18th at the Crewe Lyceum

Photo credit: Marc Brenner


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