I thoroughly enjoyed the comedies I watched last Thursday, performed by Chameleon Theatre Company at Ritchie Memorial Hall in Chandler’s Ford. In this post, I will focus on one of the comedies, The House of Fog, by Peter Brammer.
The play The House of Fog was a really funny mockery of a horror movie, with an extra layer of comedy added due to the fourth wall aspect.
The main story is about a mysterious house with dark secrets. The play was a play within a play, and the whole story was being put together by incompetent actors and directors who didn’t have a clue what they were doing. The smoke machine missed the cues, the curtains opened early (I thought this was a genuine mistake until I realised that it was intentional), the set changes were done by the actors and everybody interrupted the narrator. Of course, with all this being intentionally done, it just added to the comedy of the piece and complemented the story well. Even Lionel, the head technician whom I worked with on past productions, got a line where he complained about what the actors expected of him.
The story itself was completely clichéd, but once again intentionally so. Werewolves, spies, ghosts – every story cliché was present. My favourite part was when the narrator (one of the funniest characters in the play due to her dry humour and frustration at how poorly done the whole thing was) dramatically built up the appearance of the ghost – only for the ghost to be nothing more than a man in a white sheet with his legs showing. The scene with the ghost was a clear homage to Hamlet.
This style of theatre is called farce, where everything is done deliberately over the top and goofy. To emphasise this point, the story was completely at odds with the nonsensical events behind the scenes. The play began with a spooky voiceover warning of the “terrifying” events that will unfold, only for everything to humorously fall apart.
Another funny scene is where the werewolf gets his own subplot and ending dying monologue, despite not being relevant to the plot and the narrator comes in at one point to remind him that there are other characters in the play. His inclusion in the play is making fun of the fact that these kind of movies and stories often have pointless and irrelevant side characters.
In conclusion, this short play was very funny and cleverly done. I had a great time and appreciated the references and humour.
Director: Liz Strevens
Image credit: Liz Strevens