Corydon Ovium

Aug 18 2018 | By More

★★★☆☆     Not baad

Laughing Horse@The Newsroom (Venue 93): Thurs 2–Sun 26 Aug 2018
Review by Hugh Simpson

Corydon Ovium, Nightmare Productions’ comedy horror anthology downstairs at the Newsroom, is a decidedly hit-and-miss affair that makes up in gleeful energy for what it lacks in polish.

The title is apparently Latin for ‘clown sheep’, and there are certainly more clowns than sheep on display. They are definitely nasty ones in the tradition of Stephen King’s It, and they feature in all three stories here.

The cast of Corydon Ovium. Pic: Paul Cunningham.

The cast of Corydon Ovium. Pic: Paul Cunningham.

Writers Sandy Jack and Jennifer Payne have thrown in as many homages to various horror tropes from the 70s and 80s as they possibly can. The tales just about hang together, and director Payne gets considerable impact from limited space and resources.

The greatest compliment that can be paid to the cast is that there seems to be more of them involved than is actually the case. It may be partly down to the use of masks, but it comes as a genuine surprise that there are only five of them playing the various roles.

Jack’s ringmaster-narrator is a suitably expansive figure (even if he has the habit of explaining the ends of stories we have understood perfectly well), while the running joke of a figure prophesying doom is one that will appeal to anyone who has watched too many horror movies.

Ava Hickey, Kyle Paton, Angela Legg and Andrea Kvalvaag are all versatile performers; in general, they are happier playing extreme, masked grotesques than when trying to portray more realistic figures.

infectious joy

This is representative of the production as a whole. It seems less interested in the set-up of each story than in the Grand Guignol that can follow. The middle tale, with its portrait of a young alcoholic, is particularly unrealistic at first, but becomes the most effective when it delves into the nightmarish.

Mixing horror and humour is not nearly as easy as people generally think it is going to be, so Nightmare deserve credit for delivering a sizeable helping of both. The staging may be a little homespun – and the flashing lights are definitely overused and really should carry a warning – but there is energy to spare here, plus an obvious and infectious joy in the genre.

Running time 50 minutes (no interval)
Laughing Horse@The Newsroom (Venue 93), 5-11 Leith St, EH1 3AT
Thursday 2 – Sunday 26 August 2018
Daily (not Mons) at 10.00 pm.
Free, non-ticketed
Details on the Fringe website:

Facebook: @N1ghtm4res
Twitter: @Nightmaresprod1


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