A set of six spooky short plays make Terrifying Women the perfect Halloween (trick or) treat at the Golden Goose Theatre
“I learned at an early age the power of a scary story”
Yes, I know. Having declared last week that horror doesn’t work particularly well for me onstage, I spent part of my Halloween weekend watching more horror onstage. And this time, I had my spine well and truly chilled by the terrifying women of Terrifying Women at the Golden Goose Theatre (also now streaming), all much more acutely aware of how to instil a growing sense of real dread and make you jump the f*ck out of your seat.
They – Morgan Lloyd Malcolm, Sampira and Abi Zakarian – are aided in no small part by the form of the evening they have put together. A series of short plays, all monologues, slices out the need for atmosphere-draining scene changes, and taut running times means that the writers are necessarily highly efficient in getting the job done, whether indicting governmental complacency, invoking Armenian genocide or investigating childhood fears.
The diversity in these pieces, variously directed by Sampira, Zakarian and Isabel Marr, works both individually and collectively. Something like Zakarian’s ‘The Final Girl’ might hint at deconstructing the genre as it rips into its tired old tropes and Sampira’s ‘Easy Breezy’ subverts the ‘coolness’ afforded to characters like Dexter and Hannibal. And overall, the relentlessness of the evening – even with an interval – feels like a celebration of, as well as a progression of, the world of horror.
An accomplished ensemble offer strength and depth across the board but it is Evelyn Miller’s performance in Lloyd Malcolm’s ‘The Passenger’ is the one that is haunting me most. Brilliantly conceived with its hypernatural focus and utterly engaging as she carries an audience scarcely able to breathe with her on a most troubling journey. Huge credit too to stage manager Chloe Stally-Gibson who must be relishing the nerve-jangling power she wields. Beware, ye pale/male/stale brigade, I wouldn’t bet against the Terrifying Women being the final girls.