Home is where the horror is

In the world of puppetry, everything is possible, and the audience at ‘The House’, shown as part of the Copenhagen Puppet Festival, are taken on a slapstick ride of nightmarish proportions. With subtle nods to films like ‘Rear Window’, ‘Psycho’ and ‘The Exorcist’, creators Sophie Krog and David Faraco invite us to witness the escalating intrigues inside The House, a dilapidated crematorium.  Indeed, the house is itself a vocal character in the story, eerily confiding in us the events that have taken place within its walls and choosing to let us witness for ourselves the whole gruesome affair.

The ramshackle house is a true work of art in its own right and is placed on a revolving stage, allowing us, as eager voyeurs, to watch expectantly from the outside − through the windows, before taking a 180-degree turn to invite us surreptitiously inside. The intricate details of the house are impressive, from the balconies, tiled roof, banging doors, peeling plaster, smoking chimneys and fiery furnace, to the curtain draped around the four-poster bed of the ailing Mrs Esperanza, whose crackling voice is amplified around the house via a long trumpeting tube.

The characters move around so fluidly and expertly that you completely forget that the controlled chaos is actually being performed by two dexterous pairs of hands from beneath the stage.

And after the performance we were invited to see the inner workings of the house and watch as the enthusiastic Krog and Faraco effortlessly bobbed the puppets up and down while happily answering questions from the still buzzing and smiling audience. This was clearly a house where they felt completely at home.

The show was billed as a performance for teenagers and adults. To put this to the test, I brought along my teenage daughter. Our last trip to the theatre involved a disgraceful amount of bribery in order to get her to return after the intermission. No such moral dilemma here as her eyes lit up from the moment the lights went on until the house got to utter its final chilling words. We were both completely engrossed in the magic and devilish deeds that the house had been so kind to show us.

The puppeteers have created an extraordinarily detailed universe that with its thriller theme, comedic elements and simple storyline creates a chilling bedtime story. Who knows what tales your own house could tell? Who knows indeed.

‘The House’

March 2

 





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