H P Lovecraft was a horror/fantasy writer of some repute. Although not mainstream even in his own genre he did create a cult following and his books still have a simmering demand.
The lovely Hill Street Theatre hosts Michael Sabbaton’s ‘Call of Cthulhu’. I suspect that if you’re not a Lovecraft fan Cthulhu will mean nothing to you. Cthulhu is an ancient god who slumbers beneath the sea in R’lyeh. He has been waiting millennia for the configuration of the stars to release him from his slumbers. But while he sleeps he enters the minds of mortals and draws them to him.
What we see during the course of the 50 minutes are a series of characters either hunting down the followers of this ancient sect or embroiled in its insidious schemings. A remarkable soundtrack designed and created by Rob Speight adds layer on top of layer of atmosphere and foreboding and the lighting that never gets above dim adds another nerve jangling element into the mix.
The delivery of this one man show is through a series of vignettes sometimes presenting interactions played between two characters, one after the other rather than concurrently. This approach occasionally jarred for me and felt pedestrian in an otherwise well paced piece of work. The arc of the narrative was not always clear, who were we watching what were we talking about, where were we know? These were all questions I would rather not have had to try and work out while watching this formidable actor taken on the different persona and create such a claustrophobic and horror laden atmosphere. His characterisations and capture of a moment were wonderful.
This show is an amazing attempt to bring the dreadful awe of the Cthulhu mythos onto the stage - Michael Sabbaton has done a remarkable job.
4-30 August (not 17, 24), Times Vary See Programme
£9, £7 (concession)