Auckland Arts Festival – Horror

I’ll just say it from the start that Horror is honestly one of the best live theatrical experiences I have ever witnessed. This is a 100% a five-star show!

From the mind of Dutch director, Horror pays homage to cinematic classics of the genre – such as The Exorcist, The Shining and The Ring – to bring this wildly popular category of entertainment to the stage. It’s something that, as far as I’m aware, has never really been done before. The challenges are obvious from the outset: can a stage-show even be scary? Can horror be produced live?

The answer to those questions is, quite simply, yes. Horror achieves its goals and more in what is ultimately a masterclass of acting, special effects and the clever use of light and sound. Throughout much of the 90-minute performance I was literally mouth agape, entirely unaware of quite how the effects were achieved live. Paintings move, people disappear, body parts are removed – it’s a magic show with narrative.

Effectively a mime, the show has little to no dialogue and relies almost entirely on the actors’ performances to convey the story. The whole production felt very much like a dance, choreographed to perfection and often with every cast member performing their own dedicated ‘routine’. During one particularly impressive sequence, if any cast member was a step out of line, the consequences could have been very… deadly… No spoilers!

less outright scary and more visually horrifying than I had been expecting, but the mind-blowing effects and extraordinary live performances made this a must-see experience, particularly for fans of anything spooky or paranormal.

Go see Horror for a totally unique and immersive scare fest at Auckland International Arts Festival at The Civic Theatre until 26 March.

Reviewed by Stewart Sowman-Lund.