Tag Archives: Melissa Parker

Something Awful



VAULT Festival 2020

Something Awful

Something Awful

Cavern – The Vaults

Reviewed – 29th January 2020



“a fantastic production which is sure to have even the most hardened horror fan on the edge of their seat”


In 2014, two twelve-year-old girls from Wisconsin stabbed their supposed best friend 19 times in an attempt to appease the fictional internet creation Slender Man. Fortunately, the victim survived, having crawled to a road where she was found, and the two girls were subsequently found not guilty by mental disease or defect. Something Awful, the new play from award-winning Flux Theatre written by Tatty Hennessy and directed by Lucy Jane Atkinson, takes inspiration from this gruesome tale and the horrors that lurk on online forums.

Soph (Natalya Martin) and her best friend Jel (Monica Anne) love reading scary stories on websites such as Creepypasta, that is, until new girl Ellie (Melissa Parker) turns up with her own horror story of a mysterious figure with an axe in the nearby forest. The line between fiction and reality slowly begins to blur with disastrous consequences.

Something Awful takes a fascinating premise and addresses issues becoming increasingly relevant in our society. The ease in which children can access grotesque and inappropriate content on the internet is an obvious concern for parents, and the real-life case which the play is based on demonstrates the possible terrifying results of such exposure. A scene in which Soph gets her first period at a sleepover reminds us just how young these characters are despite the media they are consuming, and the quick installation of a VPN on their mobile devices shows just how quickly young people can get around the barriers in place for their protection.

All three women are fantastically convincing in their roles, and have excellent chemistry. The play’s pacing is good for the most part though the morbid conclusion to the tale is perhaps a bit rushed. Some more build up to the girls’ decision would be appreciated though this does also make the ending all the more dramatic in its suddenness.

The set (Bethany Pratt) is very simple. Two tables are moved around the stage for different scenes, in some, they are desks, in another a bed and, in the performance’s final moments, either side of a forest path. Props are also minimal. The cast carry school backpacks from which appear, amongst other things, a laptop, a takeaway container and some scissors.

The lighting (Holly Ellis) is slick and perfectly reflective of the mood on stage. When Soph reads out a terrifying tale, the stage slowly darkens until only she is left in the spotlight. Green hues are also used frequently to give a thoroughly creepy feel to the show. There is potential for certain moments to be creepier – for example, the opening story about a disfigured woman would pack more punch if Parker was to wear a mask – but this had no real impact on the show’s overall affect.

Overall, Something Awful is a fantastic production which is sure to have even the most hardened horror fan on the edge of their seat.

Reviewed by Flora Doble

Photography by Lidia Crisafulli


VAULT Festival 2020



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The Hope Theatre

ADAM AND EVE at The Hope Theatre




“The strength of the production most definitely comes from the acting abilities of the three performers”


Adam and Eve are a seemingly perfect couple, about to embark on a new life in the countryside and buy their first home together. Their affection for one another is made clear from the outset and we are truly swept away with it at the start of the piece. Eve even asks Adam if he thinks other people get jealous of their relationship. The young couple seem to have it all, but when one of English teacher Adam’s teenage pupils makes startling accusations that threaten the pair’s relationship, they are forced to question how well they really know each other. Is their marriage as perfect as it seems?

Having received rave reviews at Jack Studio Theatre last summer, this transfer, featuring Jeannie Dickinson reprising her role as Eve, and Lee Knight and Melissa Parker taking over the roles of Adam and teenager Nikki, clearly had a lot to live up to. The strength of the production most definitely comes from the acting abilities of the three performers. Dickinson and Knight, in the title roles, do a particularly good job at bouncing off each other and present believable chemistry. Melissa Parker is a convincing teenager and is engaging throughout her time on stage.

Given the fact that the acting is of such high quality, the minimal set is not an issue and there is no need for anything more than the two chairs and various small props used. It’s not hard for us to imagine the couple’s home, the school Adam works in, or the newsagents where Nikki works and some of the action takes place. Scene changes are primarily marked through the lighting, which darkens in an almost eerie way and is very effective. This even happens during the “honeymoon period” at the start of the production, perhaps a sign of darker times to come.

The small space of The Hope Theatre, and the way the seating has been arranged, means that sometimes actors perform with their backs to certain sides of the audience for a time. This is mainly an issue during some of the confrontational scenes, where it would add to the impact if we were able to see the facial expressions and emotions of all actors at all times. However, on a positive note, the intimate studio space means the audience can really feel a part of the action, which perhaps wouldn’t be the case if the performance took place in a larger venue.

Throughout the progression of this short piece, we are taken on the journey of a couple facing a major test to their “idyllic” relationship. Psychologically, Adam & Eve will have you questioning which version of events you believe and, just when you think you have it sussed, a plot twist will be thrown in to change your view. Directed by Jennifer Davis, this production is gripping and full of tension and I highly recommend it.


Reviewed by Emily K Neal

Reviewed – 24th May 2018

Photography by Tim Cook


Adam & Eve

Hope Theatre until 9th June


Previously reviewed at this venue
My Gay Best Friend | ★★★★★ | January 2018
Cream Tea & Incest | ★★★★ | April 2018
Worth a Flutter  | ★★ | May 2018


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