London Horror Festival – Fred Strangebone’s Freakshow

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The cast of Fred Strangebone’s Freakshow

It’s here at last, the London Horror Festival and last night took me to the festival’s new venue, the Old Red Lion Theatre in Islington for my first show of the season Fred Strangebone’s Freakshow, a one-man show by comedian and voice artist Ben Whitehead.

So with mounting excitement and pint of Sagres in hand we climbed the stairs from the boozer below to take our seats in the blackened void above. A concealed door creaks open and a figure emerges quaking with fear, sweat glistening from his forehead in the glare of the spotlight as his face contorts into paroxysms of terror and the audience explodes into laughter.

Fred Strangebone promises us comedy, an unspoken horror and time permitting a suicide and launches into a deadpan routine which takes us from hoody wearing teenagers to being evicted from the supermarket, via necrophilia and dog poo. It’s all very funny, but only an overture for the main event as we are introduced to the denizen’s of the Freakshow. There’s slapstick and pathos with a human-walrus hybrid, a chilling piece of body horror, a handyman who discovers just how demanding possessed devil babies can be and to trump it all an evil chorizo smoking property developer.

A hilarious mingling of the grotesque and the absurd, delivering more laughs than a hyena on nitrous oxide I give Fred Strangebone’s Freakshow a 666/666.

Fred Strangebone’s Freakshow is just one of the delights enjoyed by discerning horror fans at the London Horror Festival. For more details on what to see at the Old Red Lion Theatre leading up to Sunday 28 October visit the LHF website. Nearest tube Angel (Northern Line)

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