Thursday 8th June, 2017 at Harrogate Theatre (studio).
Uncanny Theatre’s Something Terrible Might Happen explores the things that frighten us, and does so with buckets of fun. It touches briefly on emotional fears and anxieties but excels in its Fun House approach to the irrational and the adrenaline-filled fears that we have. Relying heavily on audience participation (as hinted at in the advertising, so no unpleasant surprise), it’s a show that would usually make me one with my chair at the very back of the room, but this cast broke the ice with speed and ease, paving the way for the best use of audience participation that I’ve seen. The interaction was easy and thankfully, this particular audience was very forthcoming and carefree – even I was induced to make an appearance on stage, and it was not as terrifying as I expected…
While the heavy reliance on participation did at times make this performance feel more like a drama workshop than a performance, it was in fact the audience participation which made this show so funny and so fun to watch; knock a door run, human Buckaroo, quiz style truth of terror type games and some wonderfully unnerving, awkward exchanges between the actors and the audience which took full advantage of the very British discomfort with interacting with strangers in any way. Watching Matt Rogers caress the face of an audience member while delivering his dry, tragic loner-trying-to-make-friends monologue was thoroughly hilarious. Yet bringing the audience to the brink of their interaction terrors, they never really over stepped the line of unnecessary exploitation.
The cast are a small but larger than life team with their personal inhibitions apparently surgically removed at birth; nudity, crazy dancing and various other astoundingly awkward elements can’t fail to impress the average inhibited soul. Matt Rogers and Natalie Bellingham each won over the audience with their energy (with no cast list at the theatre or online, I can’t seem to name the other two yet, but they were also great fun to watch!) I didn’t quite follow the more serious scenes of the characters discussing their emotional fears as the sheer volume of gleeful silliness sucked the impact out of anything intended to be emotive. The story of the dad in hospital was perhaps the most credible, but the strength of this production is crystal clear and it is the uniquely wacky content that releases the audience from their everyday and probably makes their heart beat a little faster as they come to the realisation that they are possibly the next sacrificial lamb for the exploration of some human fear of the terrible (or the laughable).
Uncanny theatre have delivered an endlessly energised production which unapologetically toys with our varied minor fears and glorifies fearlessness while celebrating the silly – if you cower at the thought of audience participation, you might want to give it a miss, but if you like to dust off your childish love of fun and games without a care, this is the show for you!