David Greig: The Monster in the Hall

Written for Total Theatre

There’s a monster in the hall and it bites, but it’s not what you think – or is it? David Greig’s delightful modern fairytale blends fantasy with reality in a piece of pure, joyous poor theatre. Using only four actors and four microphones kingdoms are created and battles fought and won.

The daughter of a biker King and Queen, Duck Macatarsney is a princess looking after her widowed father who suffers from MS. When he goes blind from the disease the waves of calamity (provided by an Evil Fairy Godmother of the same name) that have been threatening to engulf Castle Macatarsney almost drown Duck as she hears that The Lady from social services is coming to take her away. Duck begins to weave an increasingly complex web of lies to try to stem the flood in a musical narrated by a 60s girl-group pop band who act like a deliciously camp Greek chorus.

The childish imagination that powers this energetic piece of storytelling is complimented perfectly by Nigel Dunn’s peppy score and a soundtrack so sophisticated it melts into the background. The versatility of this ensemble of actor-musicians smacks of the impressive ease of virtuoso performers. David Carlyle, Beth Marshall, Keith Macpherson and Gemma McElhinney slip from the sound of growling motorbikes one minute to melting harmonies and potent emotional encounters the next. McElhinney shines as Duck and, perhaps most impressively, Greig’s writing avoids being sentimental whilst providing everyone with a fairytale ending. Pitch perfect.

The Monster in the Hall plays at Traverse, Edinburgh 04/8/2011 – 28/8/2011 as part ofEdinburgh Festival Fringe

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