Gorgon at the Vault Festival

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I’m not sure why I’m so drawn to Horror at the moment, maybe it provides a relatively cheerful and upbeat alternative to the real world, but I was very excited to be in the audience for ‘Gorgon’ last night, and it didn’t disappoint.

While the story takes a little while to get going, it is very satisfying once it kicks into gear. Diana’s sister Freya is missing. Diana is passionate about taxidermy, and she is getting angry.  To be fair, given her family life, her irritating flatmate and her toxic boyfriend, you can’t really blame her.

This non-linear horror fest is written and directed by Elf Lyons, who also stars as the disturbingly endearing Diana. We open with a policeman seeing a therapist about a traumatic experience, before taking the scenic route to uncover exactly what has disturbed him so much. And by scenic, I really mean gory. This show is a fun ride, assuming you aren’t easily offended, or of a delicate disposition.  ‘Gorgon’ gets progressively darker and more explicit. By the end even I was feeling queasy. But in a good way: like going on a roller-coaster, you’d feel robbed if you didn’t feel a bit sick by the end.

The use of sound in this piece is superb. It adds so much entertainment value, not just ambiance.  I was lucky to be sat next to the sound table, so could really see the ‘science’ behind the sound effects. I don’t think I’ll ever look at a leek in the same way again (for those blessed with smutty minds, NO, just no!).  David Houston and Natalie Williams are both fabulous foley artists as well as performers, and join Elf Lyons to complete the cast of ‘Gorgon’. Their skills are used to great effect both at the sound table, and in playing a variety of disturbing characters with great flair. It is amazing just how much a cast of 3 can achieve.

They are helped by the fact that the design of this show is brilliant. You feel like you have entered a new world from the moment you arrive. I could sense nervousness in the audience as we waited for the show to start, I suspect, like me, they were wondering what they’d signed up for. The design starts telling the story even before the actors take the stage. Sophia Pardon (designer), Lesley Talbot (lighting) and Molly Isaac (sound) have created an atmospheric world in which this dark tale unfolds.

Elf Lyons’ ‘Gorgon’ is a dark, absorbing, deliciously quirky and queasy theatrical experience.  Lovers of the horror genre, particularly Hammer House and Grand-Guignol should really enjoy this show. Last night the space was full, so if you do want to see it, I’d book quickly. It runs at the Vault Festival until 9th February,

 

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