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Stephen Freer

Terror 2006 at the Union Theatre

If you are in the mood for some gruesome gothic horror, then don't miss Terror 2006 at the Union Theatre.

The annual horror theatre festival is commemorating the 70th anniversary of the death of Montague Rhodes James. This year's festival will showcase two plays based on the MR James ghost stories along with other dark tales by Anthony Neilson and Adam Meggido. The Union's intimate setting enhances the eerie atmosphere disturbing performances. It's the perfect venue to be scared silly.

Of the two MR James selections, The Disappearance is the best for a honest fright. The brilliant acting sells the intelligent script which will have you on the edge of your seat. It is a tribute to the cast that I will never see a Punch and Judy show in quite the same light. Unfortunately, the other MR James piece, The Rose Garden, is never as convincing.

Normal by Anthony Nielson is also worthy of mention. Normal is about the Peter Kurten who was the infamous Dusseldorf Ripper. Both Kurten's appointed defense lawyer, and the audience take a journey into his twisted mind and disturbing childhood of a man convicted of nine counts of murder and suspected of sixty more. Nielson's play is well acted and is by far the most controversial of the festival. Witnessing the workings of Kurten's depraved mind is horrifying, and the climax is genuinely shocking.

Terror 2006 is not for the squeamish, which is precisely how it ought to be.

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