Phantasmagorical – 3 Stars



Old Red Lion Theatre

Reviewed – 23rd October 2018


“Fenton’s expressive storytelling and comedic, quick-witted improvisation, will ensure that you have an enjoyable evening”


Phantasmagorical: a confused group of real or imagined images that change quickly, one following the other as in a dream.

As Halloween is looming ever closer, The Old Red Lion Theatre has been hosting the fright-filled London Horror Festival to celebrate this ghoulish time of year. Careena Fenton brings her spooky mind reading experience, Phantasmagorical, to be a part of the festival. It is an entertaining, good old-fashioned scare that mixes theatrics with seances and magic. As sceptical as you may be with the ‘powers’ of second sight, Fenton’s expressive storytelling and comedic, quick-witted improvisation, will ensure that you have an enjoyable evening.

Sylvia Sceptre, Fenton’s Victorian alter ego, is a woman who delights in all things macabre and metaphysical. At a young age she discovers that she has a gift, being able to bridge between Earth and the ‘other side’. She is able to express the inner souls and feelings of inanimate objects, as well as reading the minds of the living. Sylvia regales her story, of how she came to learn of her powers and what the rest of society thought about it. Was it a gift? Or was it just a case of female hysteria? Testing her skills on the audience, proving herself as a master of the mind, she departs from our world as quickly as she enters it.

With the likes of illusionist Derren Brown peddling mind reading for the 21st-century masses, Fenton’s Sylvia Sceptre takes us back to its origins, where it could be found as a speciality act, up and down the music halls of Britain. There’s a sense of innocent, harmless fun from a bygone era that proves it can be just as entertaining now, as it would have been all those years ago. Fenton has a whimsical and warm presence that is simply irresistible. A mix of naughtiness and nicety.

The stage is mostly bare, albeit the props that help to assist in Fenton’s tricks. With bells ringing and chimes chiming all by themselves, you can’t help but get lost in the magic with childish awe, even when the adult inside you tries to rationally work out how it was done. A charming little show, with an eccentric playfulness that you can’t help but enjoy.

Reviewed by Phoebe Cole



Old Red Lion Theatre 


Previously reviewed at this venue:
Nightmares in Progress | ★★★½ | January 2018
Tiny Dynamite | ★★★★ | January 2018
Really Want to Hurt me | ★★★★ | February 2018
The Moor | ★★★★ | February 2018
Shanter | ★★★ | March 2018
Plastic | ★★★★★ | April 2018
In the Shadow of the Mountain | ★★ | May 2018
Tales from the Phantasmagoria | ★★★ | May 2018
I am of Ireland | ★★★ | June 2018
Lamplighters | ★★★★ | July 2018
Welcome Home | ★★★ | August 2018
Hear me Howl | ★★★★ | September 2018
That Girl | ★★★ | September 2018
Hedgehogs & Porcupines | ★★★ | October 2018
The Agency | ★★ | October 2018


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