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Your worst nightmare right in front of you

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Urban Death Siphu

DIRECTOR: Jana Wimer
CAST: The Mechanicals
VENUE: The Intimate Theatre
UNTIL: December 15
RATING: ****


BY TURNS chilling, macabre and downright weird, this little gem is scary fun for the holidays.

A collaboration between The Mechanicals (who provide the people) and Zombie Joe’s Underground Theatre (who provided the idea and the director) it is a light-hearted on the surface, but eventually serious way to while an hour.

Think, old-school House of Horrors, except you are sitting down and the actors are the ones that move about. But, it is all predicated on giving you a thrill and a scare.

For once, the Intimate Theatre is so dark that you can’t see your hand, for a reason. Guy de Lancey and Vaneshran Arumugam spent hours blacking out the theatre and oh boy it was worth it.

The entire premise of the production is to show you vignettes, images that take a while to make sense, or tiny little clips of movement that will scare the heck out of you.

So, it is all predicated on the image coming at you out of the dark, and receding into the dark and your overtaxed brain just takes it further in your mind. While what you can imagine is often worse, what they show you is pretty darn scary anyway.

There’s no dialogue, so the music becomes very foregrounded. There’s tinkly pianos to lull you into a false sense of security, or to emphasise the irony of what will play out in front of you.

Not every vignette is predicated on shock because of a hideous sight, some of them give you an everyday, ordinary image that someone might present to the world. Then, they show you what happens in private, when the world’s gaze would normally be focussed somewhere else, to show you the shameful or shocking truth. Those particular moments are even scarier than when you dream about the monster under the bed, or the nightmare coming to life.

There’s the traditional Hollywood take on the zombies, with their pale make-up and lurching stumbles, but there is also some very local imagery. It gives the game away to give details, but there were a few very bitter scenes and some intense ones.

The actors were taught the style, but had to come up with the things that scared them, and you can see what they came up with once they got comfortable with the idea.

And that scrabbling in the dark, not funny guys. Driving home in the howling wind, I kept on thinking there was some- thing in the car with me.

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