Unburied review at Vaults, London – ‘fantastically creepy and intelligently crafted’
Hermetic Arts’ new show Unburied wrongfoots you from the off. It presents itself as a podcast recording. Last night, show host Carrie Marx recorded episode one. Tonight you’re the live audience for episode two. Hang on a minute, you think, this isn’t what I signed up for.
But, as Unburied progresses, it slowly dawns on you that it is a theatre show, one ingeniously structured around Carrie and her podcast, one that delves into folklore and fantasy with glee, one that has found an entirely new way of telling a story, and one that is utterly, compulsively gripping. Bring a change of underwear, because theatre doesn’t get much scarier than this.
Occasionally making apparently innocent asides, Marx sits on stage with a microphone, a laptop, and a projector, and slowly goes through her investigation into the 1978 HTV series Unburied. Unaired at the time, and now missing, Unburied was written by a folk horror academic who died shortly after it was shot.
Through archives, interviews and internet forums, Marx pieces together a genuinely chilling, brilliantly metatheatrical tale encompassing penny dreadfuls, psychic seances, stressed scriptwriters, and a story that’s fatal to whoever attempts to tell it. It’s Serial crossed with Creepypasta. The S-Town podcast via The Ring.
To say too much about Unburied would be to spoil it. Suffice to say I don’t think I’ve seen a more intelligently crafted show this festival. Actually, scratch that – I don’t think I’ve seen a more intelligently crafted show this year.