When Marcie (Hannah Grace May) arrives to take up her new job in Winterisle, the only place to stay is the Bates Motel and room service appears to be possesed by the demon Pazuzu, you realise The Wicker Hamper is going to do more than just spoof the world of Robert Hardy’s 1973 classic The Wicker Man.
Little did Marcie realise that when she took the position of secretary to Lady Winterisle’s (Bethaney Greenwood) campaign to reopen the island’s theatre that the only way to get the funding back was by human sacrifice. Fortunately the devoutly christian Sergeant Howie (Elliot Thomas) arrives, only why is he in Marcie’s bed when she wakes up, why does Scaramouche (Donncha Kearney) keep measuring people and why is the spelling of Igore’s (Sophie Hughes) name so damned important?
While somehow remaining largely true to Hardy’s classic, elements of Hitchcock’s Psycho along with The Exorcist, Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Universal classic horror are somehow seamlessly blended into Ed Hartland’s comic slayride, along with enough hidden Easter eggs referencing other genre movies to keep the most ardent horror fan happy. The horror purist in me says spoofing so many acknowledged classic horror movies shouldn’t work – but it does, largely because it comes at the source material from a position of affection that respects genre fans, rather than just taking the piss for a cheap laugh and it also helps that it’s a very funny knockabout show and that the The Stack 10 Theatre company cast really spark off each other.
A riotously funny classic horror mash I give The Wicker Hamper a 555/666
The Wicker Hamper is just one of the delights to be 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)