Live Horror Lives!

Oct 28 2021 | By More

Edinburgh Horror Festival returns

It’s fright-night time of year again and while guising might be a little different this 2021 Halloween, the Edinburgh Horror Festival makes a welcome return to live theatrical frights this weekend.

Starting tonight, Thursday 28, and running through to Sunday 31 October, the Festival is home to eight live performances of theatre, storytelling and comedy, in two rooms at the Banshee Labyrinth: the  Chamber Room and the Cinema Room.

Michael Daviot – at His Satanic Majesty’s request…

Highlights in the Chamber Room include The Devil’s Hour, a performance from festival co-founder Michael Daviot, last seen on a stage as Sherlock Holmes, who will be directed by renowned Scottish actor, Michael Nardone – with sound and lighting in the skilled hands of Roddy Simpson.

“The show is a bit of a dabble in theology, morality, metaphysics and horror, with a peppering of political comment,” says Daviot. “His Satanic Highness will give voice to some opinions on God and the Devil, Life and Death, Good and Evil.

“His musings will be interwoven with excerpts and complete tales from the works of Edgar Allan Poe, Ambrose Bierce, Guy de Maupassant, George Bernard Shaw, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and others. There will be some chills, some thrills and a few sardonic chuckles to be had.”

Crested Fools

There is also Becquer’s Legends, the debut work from the Crested Fools, with Ashley Barlow and Hesther Owenhill bringing two short stories by Spanish Gothic author Gustavo Adolfo Becquer to life in a fusion of storytelling, theatre and choreography.

Stravaig Theatre, the collaborative partnership of Scott Thomas and Emma McNeill is staging a “comical horror that promises to have you laughing – whilst fearing for your life” in The Blue Men of the Minch. And Steffen Hånes returns as The Master in the 2019 sell out show The Ritual (Fri-Sun only).

Over in the Cinema Room the vibe is on storytelling and improv. Sandy Jack is on a story tip with Vincent in Nightmareland and Danov Valravn is telling Sinister Stories. Later, those Men With Coconuts are doing their improv musicals stuff – fright-night suggestions de-rigour – and, with a similar caveat, Alex Staniforth will be inventing a new horror story every night.


All in-person performances take place at The Banshee Labyrinth, Niddry Street, EH1 1LG.

All performances are on a “donate on exit” basis, although all can be pre-brooked for £5, Click on the show title to go to a booking link.

NB: The Banshee Labyrinth is over-18s only and all performances require proof of Covid vaccine status for everyone entering the venue.

Chamber Room:

The Devil’s Hour
Michael Daviot
Thurs-Sun: 5.30pm (60 mins)
An evening of malice, mischief and storytelling presented by His Satanic Majesty. Horrors and abominations real and imaginary. Thoughts on Man, God, the Devil, and the nature of Good and Evil. Tales by Poe, Bierce, de Maupassant, Twain, Shaw etc. An evening of challenging entertainment guaranteed to delight, enthral, amuse and disturb in equal measure. Book here.

The Blue Men of the Minch
Stravaig Theatre
Thurs – Sun: 7pm (60 mins)
Two outcasts, making a break for it across the vast and unforgiving minch. Ah, but tis not the storm or the police they should be worried about. There are creatures, in waters deep, who unwitting sailor may have the misfortune to meet. If they are not successful in a battle of wit, Then soon they will fall into a watery pit. A comical horror that promises to have you laughing, whilst fearing for your life. You may be the one who can save our protagonists from their demonic demise. Unless it is with the sea demons you choose to side. Book here.

Becquer’s Legends
Crested Fools
Thurs – Sun: 8.20pm (55 mins)
Ancestral spirits, haunted visions and sinister lullabies… Join us for an evening of other-worldly temptations inspired by the short stories of Spanish Gothic author Gustavo Adolfo Becquer. A marquis falls into a feverish obsession after glimpsing a pair of emerald eyes at the bottom of a forbidden pool. Follow him as he sets out to find those beautiful eyes… and the creature they belong to. A young countess has challenged her cousin to retrieve her love token from a haunted graveyard but it’s past midnight and he hasn’t returned yet. That night, her chamber is visited by an evil presence… Book here.

The Ritual
Steffen Hånes
Fri – Sun: 9.30pm (50 mins)
Prepare yourselves! Steffen Hånes returns as The Master together with his loyal servant Gregory Lass as Gregor to conduct The Ritual. The Master will terrify you in extravagant yet charming ways. Gregor lives to serve his master’s will in order to complete their fiendish spectacle. This is your invitation to revel in the company of vampires once again – do you dare to accept? We thirst for your company… Book here.

Cinema Room:

Vincent in Nightmareland
Tales from the Frighthouse
Thurs – Sun: 6pm (40 mins)
The ringmaster presents a tale of suppression and self combustion. When Vincent a quirky children’s presenter. Reads from the wrong book. He unleashes the Nightmarish land he has suppressed in his head. A quirky, surreal one man multimedia show performed by Sandy Jack. Book here.

Sinister Stories with Danov Valravn
Danov Valravn
Thurs – Sun: 7.15pm (45 mins)
Come and get comfy with the kilted wizard Danov Valravn as he invites you to his bedtime story corner for some poems, riffs on children’s books and more… With multilingual mashups of Edgar Allen Poe, evil ducks, latin chanting and the endless horrors of parenthood and bedtimes, Sinister Stories is a slice of life, childlike, horror comedy for the young at heart. Book here.

Improvised Directors Cut – Halloween Special
Men With Coconuts
Thurs – Sun: 8.30pm (60 mins)
A fully improvised, Hollywood musical style show created from your favourite horror movie titles! Audience suggestion and participation is strongly encouraged – including your chance to direct a brand-new comedy horror. A different terrifying Director’s Cut every time by Steve Worsley and Charles Hindley, founding members of the multi award-winning Men With Coconuts. The dynamic duo weave spontaneous stories with fully improvised songs, underscored by the multi-talented musician, poet and improviser Colin Bramwell. Book here.

Stand-Up Horror
Alex Staniforth
Thurs – Sun: 10pm (60 mins)
Actor, writer and tour guide Alex Staniforth invents a horror story every night. You decide what the characters do, find and sometimes – yes sometimes – even love. Every night is different and every night is horrifically hilarious, performed in Scotland’s most haunted pub. Come along and experience the unique and hilarious Stand Up Horror. Book here.


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