Swedish theatre-maker Jakop Ahlbom has finally achieved what he thought impossible – bringing Horror to the stage.
With likenesses to The Shining and other nightmarish films seeping through, there have been times when his latest production gets a bit much, prompting some theatre-goers to run out.
“I also hear some people they have to cover their eyes,” Ahlbom told the Mercury.
“I also hear from die-hard horror fans, they come and they expect to be scared but are a little bit disappointed.”
A troubled childhood at the hands of brutal parents sets the scene for the production which uses magic, special effects, gymnastics, mime, music and blood to tell an eerie tale.
Expect levitation, vanishings, apparitions and dislocations as bodies disappear, blood spurts and a dismembered hand crawls.
Watching scary ghost stories and horror films became a favourite pastime for Ahlbom in his teen years. The passion evolved for the stage with a love for playing with emotions and drawing tension in his audiences.
But it took the director and performer more than a decade to figure out how to produce a live horror story without the audience being able to predict what would happen.
“On stage it’s very difficult ... as I have an interest and knowledge of magic I can try and solve that problem and I think that’s also part of the success of Horror,” he said.
“I like thrillers and dramas and horror has sort of an extreme way of accommodating that – like the tension in the bungy jumping effect, it’s very strong in horror when it’s done good.”
Ahlbom only saw excitement rather than resistance from venues booking the production.
“People were quite excited to see what I would come up with and luckily it got very well received and people were very enthusiastic,” he said.
Horror is almost without any dialogue and debuted at the London International Mime Festival in 2016. It has now thrilled audiences in Amsterdam, Berlin, Paris and New Zealand and for the first time will have Australians shuddering with fear this August and September.
“There’s a lot of people who say ‘I don’t like horror’ but people who wouldn’t necessarily see a horror film have found they enjoy this more than they expected,” Ahlbom said.
Horror will play in Sydney from August 29 to September 2; Wollongong from September 5-8; Canberra from September 11-15; Melbourne from September 18-22 and Brisbane from September 26-29.