Nightmares is billed as ‘a horror tale inspired by A Nightmare on Elm Street and Woman in Black’. There’s also an old horror movie called ‘The Fantastic Disappearing Man’ but with yesterday’s performance of Nightmares it was more like The Fantastic Disappearing Audience. We started out numbering around twenty and that had dwindled to three by the time I bailed out after twenty minutes.
Is it really that bad? Well….. there’s a lot of raiding the dressing-up box for the familiar horror tropes (disfigured WWI soldier, creepy clown); much shuffling and shambling around; and a bit of writhing under a blanket by the heroine/victim. The story is delivered by a Carlsberg-man-type voice-over which I think is meant to suggest portent but just sounds a bit silly. So more ‘petit’ than ‘grand’ Guignol. Actually – the sound could be the major problem as you couldn’t really make out a lot of it (I caught bits about hardened nipples and unzipping of flies so there was potential for it to be rape-fantasy offensive but I’ll let that go as I didn’t stay for the denouement) and was mentioned by other escapees out in the corridor.
It’s a shame as theatre is a rare breed on the Free Fringe and the small cast kept on going even when they were in serious danger of outnumbering the audience. And it did remind me of the old days of the Fringe when it was more experimental and less comedy festival. If they get their sound sorted out – who knows? – it might make a difference.