Civic Theatre, cnr of Queen Street & Wellesley Street West, Auckland

21/03/2017 - 26/03/2017

Auckland Arts Festival 2017

Production Details

An old house, haunted by the tragic history of a family. One sister got away. What happened to the other one? Upon her return to her family home, she is confronted with her suppressed past. The only way to survive is to face the terrible truth.

Jakop Ahlbom makes highly visual stage productions jam-packed with technical ingenuity: objects move of their own accord; people disappear into couches. In Horror Jakop Ahlbom is paying homage to the horror genre and referencing The Shining, Rosemary’s Baby and The Exorcist and ingeniously combines them into a new story.

In Horror Ahlbom strikes a clever balance between the tragic tale and the chilling horror; between scenes of serenity and of violence. Blood spurts up to the ceiling; a dismembered hand crawls – wailing as it goes – across the floor. Horror is a perfect blend of sinister black humour and hardcore horror. Everyone, including those who do not know their horror classics, will be sitting at the edge of their seat in childlike delight for 90 minutes.

On a technical level Horror is yet another tour de force. Ahlbom uses his special effects to truly surprise. The boundaries of his inventiveness are remarkably. Horror is sinister, chilling, messy, comical and absurd – and the acting is excellent. It demonstrates once again Ahlbom’s singular theatrical talent.

“Whoever would have thought that horror would work on the stage? Ahlbom has proven it is possible!”

Suitable for ages 15+

Contains strobe lighting and haze

Check out the Horror NZSLI interpreted infomercial HERE

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Wednesday 22 March

Ticket prices  – Service fees apply.  

Adult $35 – $69

Concession (Senior/Student/Group 6+)  $53 / $63

Theatre ,

1 hr 20 mins

Stage frights a little too stock horror

Review by Dione Joseph 24th Mar 2017

Horror films are a genre unto their own but how well do our favourite spine-chilling moments translate to live performance?  

It’s a challenge Swedish creator Jakop Ahlbom has taken up with gusto. Horror, an 80-minute stage show, tackles a number of the traditional sub-genres with a kaleidoscopic range of stunning visual and sound elements.

Bright red raincoats, swinging axes, shattering windows, spooky forests – the show has it all and, of course, it’s set in the austere environment of a haunted mansion. The soundtrack is a fabulous assortment of creaks, squeaks, gurgles, laughter and jewellery box music as well as some excellent instrumental. [More


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Here’s Johnny (and other references)

Review by Rachael Longshaw-Park 24th Mar 2017

If you adore the horror genre, then Jakop Ahlbom’s masterpiece is an absolute must-see. As spectacles go Horror is as spectacular as you can get. The show is a true homage to the horror genre and begs for a cult following.

The attention to detail is magnificent in both the set design and costume, and lighting and sound design team have worked wonders to imitate visual trickery only film can usually portray. The technical wizardry that creates the effect of ghostly interference is also something to marvel at. The set boasts a cross section view of the inside of an Edwardian home, redecorated in a stagnant mid-20th century style that suggests a suspension of time. The parlour and outside of the house are separated by panels that can become transparent when needed, allowing the set to adapt to the unravelling horrors. [More


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Witty, skilful, visually sumptuous marriage of illusion, technology and demandin physicality

Review by Leigh Sykes 22nd Mar 2017

Horror is described in the programme as “a spine-chilling visual spectacle that pays homage to the horror movie genre”. As I wait for the show to begin, I ponder the possible difficulties of creating something truly frightening and horrific in front of a live audience.

What is surprising and pleasing is the sheer size and variety of that audience. The widest possible range of people from in and around Auckland seems to be represented and this is as unusual as it is welcome. A show attracting this much variety in its audience is already achieving something great in my book.

The show opens, as many genre movies do, with the arrival of people (three in this case, one female and two male) at what appears to be an empty or abandoned house. It is immediately clear that technologies play a very important part in the show, with set (design by Douwe Hibma, Jakop Ahlbom and Remco Gianotten), music (design by Wim Conradi with Bauke Moerman), sound, costume (design by Esmee Thomassen), props (Rob Hillenbrink) and lighting (design by Yuri Schreuders) combining to create wonderfully effective sequences that reference a host of horror movies and develop those references into something new and different.

It is also clear that Director Jakop Ahlbom has a wide and varied taste in horror movies, as references to many different movies (The Ring, The Exorcist, The Shining and The Blair Witch Project to name but a few) come thick and fast. The joy of the production is in the visual inventiveness on display, as characters appear and disappear without warning, objects move of their own accord and limbs are severed while the three characters do all of the things you should never do in a horror movie.

These opening sequences have the audience responding with gasps, laughter (distractingly loud and frequent from at least one nearby audience member at this performance) and applause at the visual trickery on display. There is no dialogue during the show, so we focus fully on the wonderful physicality of the actors and the creative use of technology that makes the seemingly impossible happen right in front of our eyes.

It is sometimes difficult for me to tell how much of the story is ‘real’ for these characters, and how much is happening in the past or in someone’s mind, but it is clear that a young girl is suffering at the hands of cruel parents, and that the female traveller is connected to the story in some way. The action becomes an addictive puzzle of trying to predict what will happen next and how it might be achieved.

It is very hard to describe too much of the show without giving away some of the most effective moments. Suffice to say that if you like the horror genre, complete with copious amounts of blood, then you will enjoy this show.

There are some excellently choreographed set pieces that have the audience gasping and applauding at the sheer audacity of the moment or the illusion (the television set being one of the best examples). The physicality and control of the performers in sequences like the extended and very bloody fight over many different pieces of furniture, to the soundtrack of Crazy Horses by The Osmonds, is as impressive as it is violent.

In fact, the audience at this performance seems to like the bloodiest moments the best, with some being so well devised and performed that they seem to defy possibility; an audacious achievement on stage without any camera trickery to rely on. Some sequences are less successful for me, particularly those that repeat a plot element that has gone before (I feel the introduction of two more travellers dilutes some of the tension), or are more purely dance than narrative-driven physicality.

But overall this is a visually sumptuous marriage of illusion, technology and physically demanding movement that pays a witty and very skilful homage to the horror genre. If you are a fan of gore and classic horror movies, then this is a show that you really should see. 


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