Full cast pictured: Holly Morgan, Rosy Fordham, Nic Lamont, Rebecca O’Brien, Sasha Wilson
Sitting down in the front row of The Pit to watch ‘What the Dolls Saw’, it probably wasn’t the best moment to remember that porcelain dolls give me the creeps, and I mean nightmare level creeps. However, as they are horrifying in the extreme, this does make them a perfect ingredient for this dark and twisted tale.
House of Macabre’s ‘What The Dolls Saw’ is an engrossing, and darkly comic thriller that is great fun to watch. Three sisters have returned home for the funeral of their father, the world’s greatest Dollmaker. Many years before their aunt Lilly disappeared without a trace. Will they finally be able to solve this family mystery? Or will their drunken mother, who makes a velociraptor look cuddly, get in their way? Will they be able to unravel what the dolls saw?
Written by Nic Lamont, this is a delightfully plotted and genuinely intriguing story. The incorporation of shadow puppetry, in collaboration with award-winning theatre company Knuckle and Joint, is exquisitely done, and brings out the macabre fairy-tale aspects of the story. The entire cast (all female, if that bothers you, trot on, as the feminist subtext might melt your brain) are pitch perfect, and seem to really relish bringing this play to the stage, adding a contagious sense of fun to this already engaging dark comedy.
Director Lisa Millar works magic with the space available, sustaining a vigorous pace throughout, which is so essential for successfully delivering both the comedy and the twisty plot. Benjy Adam’s set design works well in the small space, while maintaining the flexibility needed to represent multiple different locations quickly.
All in all ‘What the Dolls Saw’ is a wonderfully entertaining and satisfying dark comedy. It is running at Vault Festival in the 9pm slot until 9th Feb. A must see for lovers of true crime podcasts and dark, twisty comedies.