A haunted man performing a poem about a haunting in a tiny, claustrophobic room; Phantasmagoria is a brief descent into madness.

The company of three actors begin the performance in the queue outside, ushering in the small audience in two groups for the recitation by Mr Charles Allerdyce. There is some business with a cigar tin, passed to one of the audience members, who gets a special seat.

The poem begins promisingly enough, with a ghost puppet standing in for the visiting spirit of Lewis Carroll’s story. Soon enough, however, Allerdyce has completely lost his senses, rolling and crawling on the floor, grabbing various audience members and screaming at them. A bare 20 minutes later we are back out into C Nova, unsure of what we have just witnessed.

A strange, unsettling piece. Although interesting, the show does not justify the ticket price.

Words: Caroline Whitham

Phantasmagoria, C Nova, 5-31 August (not 18), times vary

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