The fourth show by horror-comedy maestros Kill the Beast is majestically daft and incredibly funny.
It’s the 1970s and movie director Wallis Byrne Mattravers (Ollie Jones) is making a micro-budget satanic shocker but the shoot is not going to plan. His leading lady has met with a nasty accident so they’ve replaced her with a lookalike (both fabulously played by David Cumming), there’s a chimp on the loose and the set might be haunted.
The company’s shows, directed and designed by Clem Garritty, have always been notable for their aesthetic complexity, from their ghoulish monochrome debut The Boy Who Kicked Pigs to the neon excess of Don’t Wake the Damp. This time the company has created a deliberately shoddy film set, all wobbly wood panelling and flimsy windows. Video screens have been placed at either side of the stage, allowing for a technically ambitious and genuinely uncanny moment when Cumming appears to dance with a ghostly pre-recorded version of himself.
Though some of the plotting feels unnecessarily convoluted, Kill the Beast has always been superb at world-building and the over-the-top acting and aggressively hideous wigs generate plenty of laughs.
While it’s slightly disappointing that Garritty’s production resists the urge to ramp up the horror as it hurtles towards its big musical finale (because of course there’s a big musical finale), this is inventive, uproarious stuff.