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The Curse of Elizabeth Faulkner

| Theatre | 14/10/2013

Elizabeth Faulkner

Pegged as a rip roaring gothic farce, I was prepared to be amused and slightly unnerved by The Curse of Elizabeth Faulkner. Well, I was half right – I was certainly amused. Whilst the show fell a few paces short of expectations and occasionally fell flat, it definitely is an entertaining way to while away an hour.

The Curse of Elizabeth Faulkner is, as the title suggests, a tale of a curse. A family curse to be exact, that results in it’s victims being unceremoniously and often suspiciously killed off when they turn thirty-three. It is Edwardian style England and Faulkner, the hero of the play, is on the eve of his thirty-third birthday when he desperately enlists the help of bankrupt undertaker, Thorndike (who is also plagued by the curse and on the eve of his thirty-third birthday). The plan is to dig up the evil Elizabeth Faulkner and lift the curse. A misguided and fruitless quest perhaps, but it did tickle me.

It’s a small cast (only four members) but they all carry off their performances with excellently balanced tongue-in-cheek comedy. Whilst I thought the two male leads provided the majority of the comic relief, I was impressed by Harriette Sym’s performance. She played numerous roles and each was distinguishable as a different character. Sym has that ‘blonde damsel in distress who is also rather suspicious’ act down to a t. Her main role as Miss Francis, Thorndike’s housekeeper/assistant, fully embodies this damsel role particularly after the introduction of some chocolate laced with truth serum which she knows a little too much about. She screams terribly well too.

Speaking of screams, this play could easily be mistaken for a horror (if the comic elements were omitted) as the writers have chucked in all the usual horror tropes: graves, curses, haggard old women, mistakenly dead bodies, geese, possession and a bit of fake blood thrown in for good measure. Did I say geese? Yes, this show is rather obsessed with geese. As any good comedy horror should be, of course. There is even some ancient voodoo-y magic and a hooded Peruvian. What more could you ask for?

The Charing Cross Theatre is the perfect venue for a show of this ilk. It is an underground theatre tucked away on Villiers Street with an abundance of plush red carpeting and a faint rumble of trains in the distance. I suspect the venue contributed in some way towards my overall enjoyment of the show as it felt terribly fitting to be heading underground for a production promising elements of comedy with a gothic twist. The stage itself is bare with a very limited use of props but a very good use of lighting and sound (storms, mostly).

The Curse of Elizabeth Faulkner has no discernibly cohesive plot line but it is a laugh nonetheless and, as a late evening show, the perfect way to end a night (or start, depending on your preference).

The Curse of Elizabeth Faulkner is at The Charing Cross Theatre on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights until November 23rd. The show begins at 10pm and has a running time of 1 hour. For more information and to buy tickets visit http://www.charingcrosstheatre.co.uk/.

The_Curse_of_Elizabeth_Faulkner

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