Sophie and Megan really like movies, and in this Brighton Fringe show, they are here to take us through the history of the horror genre, with film clips, soundbites, short lectures, song, a touch of teenage angst, and the occasional demonic possession.
Alexander Joseph and Ro Robertson make up the duo and their brilliant drag personas are the absolute highlight of this production. The songs they perform together are clever, very funny, tight and the strongest moments of the 80 minutes we spend with them. It’s evident that they are established, experienced drag performers and the loudest laughs of the evening come from when they are performing musical numbers together.
“A rollercoaster experience”
The film clips are great and bring a variation in tone as well as some familiar and welcome cultural references from horror films and beyond – there is a musical number which involves a clip of Julie Andrews, having been dubbed to sing them through how to survive the demon possession and the audience was very vocal in its appreciation of seeing this Hollywood legend being used in such an unexpected way.
There are plenty of surprises over the evening and we are on the edge of our seats when their technical equipment ‘breaks down’ and we are invited to light the duo using the torches from our phones. This works well, creating a spooky feeling in the room leaving us constantly wondering what might happen next in this rollercoaster experience.
There is a story line running through the show as an aside to the horror journey, involving a rivalry for Sophie’s attention between Megan and a character called Abigail, who we see Facetiming on the big screen, checking up on what she is missing and interrupting the ‘presentation’. I got the impression that this was a concept from a previous show, or an idea that they had which, although is technically impressive, not particularly necessary in this one. It ties together some of the slightly dubious storyline involving a necklace purchased that day which ultimately brings about the aforementioned demon possession, the excellent climax of the show, but those scenes feel a little out of place. I couldn’t help but wonder if there was a more succinct way of bringing that story to its conclusion.
That said, A History of Horror is a fun way to spend an evening. We were certainly in safe hands with these two funny, quirky performers, and I very much look forward to seeing where their journey as a perfectly paired performance duo takes them next.