Blackshaw Theatre Company present a combination of scary stories, spooky anecdotes and powerful spoken word pieces in Scare Slam. Blackshaw work with new writing and adaptations but mainly aim to inspire an audience with dynamic, entertaining theatre.
The night consists of a variety of stories, ranging from the hilarious to the haunting. Each piece is no longer than ten minutes, all of which fit into the theme of ‘spooky’. The pieces are simplistic in terms of set, props and costume and rely mainly on the spoken word and the quality of the performers on stage.
Charmingly hosted by the charismatic director of Blackshaw Theatre, Ellie Pitkin, Scare Slam shows a terrific diversity in its content. Pitkin is clearly a natural comedian, and keeps the evening ticking along at a good place. Her interjections are humorous and occasionally very necessary, due to the severity of some of the stories.
An eerily sinister poem, written and performed by Molly Beth Morossa starts off proceedings and sets the mood successfully. Morossa performs with a suitable level of creepiness and her writing is poignant and inventive. We are then thrown into something completely different with Dave Bibby’s performance of his own piece Chug Life. Bibby is obviously a talented comedian and his use of audience participation is intelligent and creative. However, the story itself seemed a little disjointed and the introduction of it being “a work in progress” was certainly clear.
The order of the acts was obviously something that was well thought out, with light hearted comedy sandwiched between some chilling tales. The most haunting being that of Ben Whitehead’s The Dewey Ones. Whitehead tells the tale of a holiday in Crete with his girlfriend that takes an unbelievably spooky turn. The story is expertly told and, if it’s true, then it is terrifying! Paul Joseph’s The Flat Upstairs could’ve been told with a little more enthusiasm but was an interesting and moving story nonetheless. Ed Hartland shows versatility in his writing with Skag And Bone Man and The Haunt. The first includes a captivating performance from Stuart Vincent as he rhythmically tells the mythical tale of a boy losing his soul at the hands of a monster. There was also a promising performance from Ed Bailey performing his own writing in At The Edge. Bailey performs with a brooding intensity and has a huge talent for storytelling.
Overall, Blackshaw Theatre’s Scare Slam is an enjoyable evening with talent in abundance on show. It doesn’t scare you in to sleepless nights or make you jump out of your seat, but it certainly entertains you. As a company, Blackshaw Theatre are extremely admirable and clearly work with inventive and diverse talent.
Scare Slam was a one night event at The Old Red Lion Theatre on 17 October 2016. For more information, see the Old Red Lion Theatre website.