Director Hogan has teamed up with producer Josh Saco from Cigarette Burns for this spooky anthology, with a wraparound scripted by author and critic Kim Newman. Five disparate residents of a mental institution assemble for an unusual evening therapy session hosted by the mean-spirited Dr Myra Lark (cult favourite Sarah Douglas, of Superman and Conan fame), highly dismissive of the Americanised All Hallow’s Evening. One by one, they are bullied into revealing the reason for their commitment, and with the tiny, intimate downstairs lounge of the theatre, the audience feels complicit in this confessional.
Each actor performs the increasingly warped and elaborate vignettes from celebrated writers, with the fellow ‘patients’ stepping in as supporting characters (the delightfully lowkey and ramshackle production sees them tripling up as stagehands). In The Devil’s Business, Billy Clarke delivered a show-stopping monologue, and to see him command the floor as a grieving father in Stephen Volk’s ‘Three Fingers, One Thumb’ is spine-tingling in such a tiny dark room.
Joshua Mayes-Cooper is patient Tom Rose (or ‘Tom Twat’ as Dr Lark so cruelly refers to him - there’s a healthy dose of black humour), a Shoreditch media type who takes desperate action in Paul McAuley’s ‘Professor Babu’. Upcoming actress Gina Abolins took over from The Woman star Pollyanna McIntosh at the last minute, but is a hugely compelling presence as a victimised young woman in Maura McHugh’s ‘The Night-Born Sisters’, while Anne Billson’s clever and biting ‘Case Study: Richard Gill’ sees Daniel Brocklebank’s misogynistic adulterer get a nasty shock.
The crowd-pleaser is Hogan’s own entry, ‘Marry in May, Rue the Day’, a traditional Gothic horror revolving around the unlucky-in-love Holly Lucas and featuring the entire ensemble. It’s the stagiest, spookiest and most electrifying entry, ending the night on a bang (or scream) before a delicious farewell - we definitely recommend grabbing a seat in the front row.
A beautifully-performed collection of psychological terrors, head over to Leicester Square Theatre and snap up tickets before it’s too late.