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Nightmare Cafe

Hocus Pocus Theatre at the Norwich Arts Centre

Review published in the Easten Daily Press, 9 April 2008

Nightmare Cafe

New talent in the arts is often best grown by loosely following the recipe and being prepared to take a few risks.

Using a cafe cabaret setting for a play is not that unusual, but local group Hocus Pocus are. Very.

Pushing at the boundaries of the experimental and crossing into the bizarre, Nightmare Cafe is like a bad dream of the Addams Family meeting Carry On.

In a sense it is a morality play, ‘to cook and serve your ills and you eat them”. A bottle of death containing every toxin known to man is the dish served warm – just desserts.

They do it superbly well, this young fresh company, never taking themselves too seriously and mixing genres, fusing styles and lampooning horror with happy abandon.

Lucy Enskat and Daniel Gilmore enact the tale, relishing the macabre, spicing in vaudeville music and magic. They are supported by surreal characters who appear at random like the Dolly Bird (Hannah Ashmore) and the spooky Bearded Wench (Zoe Saber).

The whole is a short but sweet update of a piece first cooked up six years ago and it is a joy to support young talent at the highly enterprising NAC and to taste something that is drama, music, dance, satire and pastiche all rolled into one.

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