Theatrical tricks & treats for Halloween

In Features, London theatre, Musicals, Opinion, Plays, Ticket recommendations by Debbie GilpinLeave a Comment

“It’s close to midnight, and something evil’s lurking in the dark…” Yes, it’s that time of year again! Hallowe’en provides a brief respite in the outrageously early Christmas preparations; it’s a great excuse to get out those horror films or some classic gothic literature, but what if you want to get out of the house and avoid those pesky trick or treaters? There’s plenty to choose from all across London, so if you fancy doing something a little bit spooky this week then here’s a selection of highlights…

Frankenstein (Tea Break Theatre) – Sutton House

Following on from last year’s Dracula, Tea Break Theatre is back at Sutton House in Hackney for their immersive, promenade production of the classic Mary Shelley novel Frankenstein. Just like Frankenstein’s monster, the building will be brought to life – and a spooky atmosphere will be provided by puppets and shadows… “I’m thrilled to be bringing this fearsome feminist Frankenstein to life this Halloween!” says director Katharine Armitage. “Our production is going to be bolder and even more unexpected than anything we’ve done and will genuinely be a version of the story audiences have never seen before.”

This year marks 200 years since the book was first published, and this production promises to be every bit as chilling and daring. It also has a feminist twist, inspired by the group of female squatters who occupied the house in the 1980s and saved it from destruction – Victor Frankenstein here brings a female Creature to life, allowing them to explore the expectations of the patriarchy and how women can suffer if they don’t live up to it.

Armitage continues: “In this year, which is both 200 years since Mary Shelley published this incredible book and 100 years since some women were first able to vote, it feels both important and special to be creating work which explores gender roles and expectations whilst also honouring a visionary writer and her wonderfully twisted creation.”

London Horror Festival – Old Red Lion Theatre

The London Horror Festival returns for its eighth year, bringing over 30 productions to Islington’s Old Red Lion Theatre. It’s been up and running for a few weeks already, but there’s still time to catch a few of its shows.

The Full Bronte (Scary Little Girls) – The Space

Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights is a gothic literature staple – and with the family growing up on the creepy Yorkshire moorland, could there be a better set of sisters to celebrate on Halloween? Scary Little Girls pays homage to the Brontës by way of games, comedy, music and storytelling, with host Maria and her assistant Brannie. The show has been described as “the anarchic love child of French and Saunders and Hinge and Brackett!”, so be prepared for a night of fun and mayhem as this great literary family is celebrated in raucous fashion.

After Hours Tour – National Theatre

The National Theatre run various tours throughout the year, but there’s nothing quite as creepy as their late-night backstage trips on Hallowe’en… This really is a fantastic opportunity to delve into theatre superstitions, as well as getting access to rehearsal rooms, workshops – and possibly even a peek at the inner workings of the theatres. I went last year, when they were in the middle of preparations for Pinocchio (think lots of creepy puppets) so there was a lot to see there, and we also got taken underneath the Dorfman Theatre stage to see how it all works. Charlotte at Talk Stagey To Me had a sneak peek last week, so do have a read of her preview blog post if you need convincing…

Tickets are available online.

Wicked
Photo source: Wicked The Musical website

Wicked – Apollo Victoria

Perhaps you’d simply like to stick with a blockbuster musical for the evening? In which case, you can’t go far wrong with Wicked. The alternative story behind the witches in The Wonderful Wizard of Oz has music & lyrics from Stephen Schwartz and book from Winnie Holman, creating a gloriously magical spectacle on the Apollo Victoria stage. The show has recently celebrated its 15th birthday, as well as 12 years in London – so do head along if you want to see what all the fuss is about! The current West End cast features Alice Fearn as Elphaba, Sophie Evans as Glinda and David Witts as Fiyero. (The UK tour is now at the Wales Millennium Centre in Cardiff, if you can’t get to London.)

Tickets are available online or from the box office.

A Very Very Very Dark Matter
Photo credit: Manuel Harlan

A Very Very Very Dark Matter – Bridge Theatre

I’ll finish with this as a slightly left field suggestion. Martin McDonagh’s brand new play (directed by Matthew Dunster) stars Jim Broadbent as Hans Christian Andersen, and also features Belgium’s genocide in the Congo… It’s been dividing the critics and audiences alike (you can check out my full review imminently), but it definitely falls into the dark & creepy side of things for the most part; Anna Fleischle’s design of Andersen’s attic is rather spooky, and Chris Fisher has also provided some illusions for the production. And with a 90-minute running time, you’ll be tucked up safe & sound at home well before the witching hour!

Tickets are available online or from the box office.

Tags: A Very Very Very Dark Matter, Alice Fearn, Apollo Victoria, backstage tour, Bridge Theatre, David Witts, Dominic Allen, Frankenstein, Hallowe’en, Jim Broadbent, Katherine Armitage, Leland Frankel, London, London Horror Festival, Martin McDonagh, Matthew Dunster, Millennium Centre, National Theatre, Off West End, Old Red Lion Theatre, preview, Providence: The Shadow Over Lovecraft, Restless Ecstasy, Scary Little Girls, Simon Maeder, Slaughterhouse, Sophie Evans, Stephen Schwartz, Sutton House, Tea Break Theatre, The Full Bronte, The Space, The Wicker Husband, theatre, tour, Turnpike Productions, Wales Millennium Centre, Wicked, Winnie HolmanCategories: all posts, preview, theatre

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Debbie Gilpin
Debbie Gilpin stumbled into writing about theatre when she moved to London after studying for a degree in Human Genetics at Newcastle University. She started her website Mind the Blog in November 2014 and also tweets from @Mind_the_Blog. She spent the best part of 2014-16 inadvertently documenting Sunny Afternoon in the West End, and now also writes for BroadwayWorld UK. Debbie’s theatre passions are Shakespeare and new writing, but she’s also a sucker for shows with a tap routine.
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Debbie Gilpin on FacebookDebbie Gilpin on RssDebbie Gilpin on Twitter
Debbie Gilpin
Debbie Gilpin stumbled into writing about theatre when she moved to London after studying for a degree in Human Genetics at Newcastle University. She started her website Mind the Blog in November 2014 and also tweets from @Mind_the_Blog. She spent the best part of 2014-16 inadvertently documenting Sunny Afternoon in the West End, and now also writes for BroadwayWorld UK. Debbie’s theatre passions are Shakespeare and new writing, but she’s also a sucker for shows with a tap routine.

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