This latest show by David Hughes Productions is inspired by the myth and legend of Sawney Bean, a Scottish cannibal who lived in an Ayrshire cave with his incestuous family during an indeterminate century when they murdered and ate unfortunates that happened by their secret dwelling.
A large, soft and breathing boulder sits on the smoky stage of the red and green stencil striped floor. To strange plinking and gurgling sounds, a 5 -headed bestial body comes slithering from its cocoon. It is scary and feral and seems to function as one animal.
The scene is visually jaw-dropping and the sinister atmosphere is already present. There was a similar hideously spectacular birthing scene in the David Hughes production last year of The Red Room that heralded an astonishing performance and so did this one.
While this is clearly dealing with horrific subject matter, it is done imaginatively and symbolically rather than crudely. Most of the action takes place in a fairground hall of mirrors where a winged sprite and a masked menace in a satin suit take part in a mad staccato disco culminating in an orgiastic dance with varying degrees of devilishness involved.
The skill and inventiveness of these dancers and the choreography that goes behind it are nothing short of stunning. All this is done to an eclectic mix of music from Mama Cass to the Muppets and the irreverent and highly comic inclusion of Yummy Yummy Yummy I’ve Got Love in my Tummy.
Alex Rigg as Sawney ‘Scissorhands’ is every inch the wild man but near the end appears in a gallus tartan teddy boy jaiket worthy of a ‘50s Slab Boy and in what can only be described as beach brothel creepers.
He delivers a magnificently crafted monologue on love of seduction that is both crazy and funny. He ties up the appearance of the strange and hungry beast that was the Bean family and harangues with a philosophical list of possibilities starting with “If all the world was one man, what a great man that would be.”
This is gripping and gloriously dark theatre. In seeing it you are entering a new zone of disconcerting inventiveness and astonishing human physical potential, both in the cast’s talent and in the dark deeds they portray.
Show times: Til 28 August, times vary
Ticket Prices: £6 - £19
Touring Scotland Thursday 22 September to Saturday 08 October