Of all the shows set to run through the London Horror Festival I think Mountains of Madness was the production I was most looking forward to. Based upon the novella by HP Lovecraft and adapted by TL Wiswell, Mountains of Madness follows the ill fortune of a gender reversed Miskatonic University expedition the Antarctic.
Blimey that’s a big concept you may think, how are they going to do that?
As the play opens we are in the lecture hall of the Miskatonic University, Professor Dyer (Sasha Wilson) takes to the lectern to warn us about the expedition’s fate. Dyer refers us to the newsreel footage back-projected onto the screen to her left (using genuine footage from the Scott and Shackleton expeditions that would have been almost contemporary with Lovecraft’s fictional one). Peabodie (Natalie Morgan) and Danforth (Libby Grant) in their furry parkas pop up before the screen to report back to us like modern-day war correspondents, relating their arrival in the icy wilderness, the discovery of the remains of a the mysterious pre-human civilisation and the aftermath of the frozen creatures revival.
Nicely acted and fairly true to the original Lovecraft source material, the pop-up reportage complete with the monochromatic full face make-up really made Mountains of Madness live for me. And yes the giant penguins (well one of them anyway) do get a look in too. So top marks to the production design team of Anna Sanches, Jason Meininger and Keri Danielle Chesser.
An atmospheric multi-media chiller (see what I did there) I give Mountains of Madness a 666/666.
Mountains of Madness 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)