On arrival, we weaved through the crowded bar, catching sight of horror legends such as Nicholas Vince and Barbie Wilde.
When the clock struck 7:30pm, we followed the stream of people into the auditorium. Passing a table filled with horror novels such as The Voices by F. R. Tallis and James Herbert’s The Rats, we precariously balanced our glasses of red wine as we eagerly picked up a few copies.
Sitting comfortably in our seats, it wasn’t long before the lights went down and Peter Davis, our host and one of the festival’s producers, took to the stage to introduce the evening’s acts.
After a spot of macabre comedy from Fred Strangebone, things kicked off with Stage Fright, the third annual horror radio competition from the London Horror Festival and the award-winning audio drama producers at the Wireless Theatre Company.
Following months of searching for short radio dramas that explore the spooky, the shocking, and the downright terrifying, the selection was narrowed down to three that were then performed and recorded live by the Wireless Theatre Company in front of us.
First up was Special Delivery by Elizabeth Adlington, which focused on a couple following the delivery of a rather unusual teddy bear. Next came Tears from the Pillow by Gabrielle Wright, a touching yet spine-chilling tale about a man in a coma (we daren’t reveal anymore). Finally, Pete Barrett’s Forever Amber told the story of a cantankerous lord with a passion for taxidermy.
Special guest judge Seth Patrick (author of the Revivor trilogy) selected Forever Amber as the winner of 2014’s Stage Fright. While all three were truly excellent, our personal favorite was Gabrielle Wright’s Tears from the Pillow. Our hearts were in our throats for the majority of the performance, much in thanks to Fiz Marcus’ stellar portrayal of a woman on the edge.
Next came the much-anticipated horror cabaret, which featured acts such as Good Ness Gracious, a burlesque artist who performed a rather literal version of ‘Under my Skin’, and Rosie Kohl, whose play, The End of the Line (also part of the London Horror Festival), is on stage at The Etcetera Theatre between the 24th and 26th October.
Our unprecedented highlight of the cabaret, and indeed the night, was Mary Beth Morossa. Described in the programme as “a macabre and enigmatic artiste” who has “stepped out from the pages of a long forgotten story book”, Morossa delighted the audience with a couple of her wonderfully twisted Gothic tales, which were performed just as beautifully as they’re written.
The evening capped off with a horror raffle, which, thanks to ‘Lucy’, was a raffle unlike any we’ve ever seen before.