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REVIEW: There's Nothing There at Cotswold Playhouse
A cold and blustery night was the perfect atmosphere to attend There’s Nothing There the latest collaboration between Apricity Theatre and Black Dog Productions at The Cotswold Playhouse.
As the audience took to their seats the actors on stage were already having a fun night in at their holiday cabin. Enjoying a party full of alcohol and high jinks showing the close friendships and bond between them. The aftermath of the party with awful hangovers and the need to restock supplies for the rest of their holiday is where the story begins.
We learn that these six friends are staying in an isolated cabin in The Black Forest, Germany. All seems to be going well until the arrival of Jessie played by actor/writer Russell Eccleston. We can sense immediate tension between him and the character of Caleb.
The problems between them arise from the fact that Caleb clearly has a crush on Jessie’s girlfriend Cassie. Caleb played by Stan Elliott has already over stepped the mark during the party with his unwanted advances towards Cassie played by Tiffany Rhodes who does her best to keep the peace and not to antagonise anyone but you can still see Jessie’s anger and dislike for Caleb constantly bubbling away under the surface waiting for the chance to erupt.
There is plenty of humour interspersed with horror in this production especially with the sarcastic interactions between Emily Malloy’s character Alina and Ethan played by Njeko Katebe. Ethan is regular teased for his secret feelings towards Grace and he plays the part of love struck friend and Ibiza loving party boy very convincingly.
As strange things begin to happen during their stay we start to see cracks appear in the relationships and friendships that initially seemed so strong.
Dead rodents are found in the toilet, their car breaks down on a trip back from town where they found the locals not very welcoming and they notice the strange atmosphere surrounding them where no noise can be heard not even the sound of birds or their own footsteps outside.
The horror element is further explored when we learn about Der Grossman from a book Caleb picked up on their journey into town. A mythical creature that is said to steal children that enter his forest.
The atmosphere of being trapped in a cabin and hearing more details from the book seems to play on everyone’s minds as paranoia begins to set in. Is the legend of Der Grossman true? There are plenty of scare moments for the audience with the sounds of loud banging and flickering lights.
The character who becomes most unhinged during this time is Alina. She sees a figure outside her window and is clearly terrified by the encounter. Her descent into madness and her desperation to be believed is very gripping to watch and leads to devastating consequences.
Even the calmness and level headed words of Grace portrayed with great poise by Charlotte Turner-McMallan can’t keep things together in the cabin.
As the night continues to progress into chaos with no one really knowing who they can trust anymore and conversations becoming increasingly hostile there is some really well choreographed and convincing fight scenes.
Madness and violence erupt on to the stage making a real impact in the second half of the show. Is everyone really showing their true nature or is it the work of Der Grossman lurking in the shadows, infecting their minds?
A well executed tale of friendship and folklore with fatal consequences.
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