Odd Doll Theatre’s “Seaside Terror” is touring as part of Rural Arts ON Tour at Skipton Town Hall on 26th October (tickets) and Stillington Village Hall on 27th October (tickets)
Hello, what’s your name and what’s your role in Seaside Terror? What does that role involve on the road? Hi, my name’s Rebekah and I am one of the two performers in Seaside Terror. My role is very much behind the scenes, in fact you never really see me! I make all the magical set changes happen and manipulate the main characters puppets within the stories.
Without giving too much away tell us a little bit about your show. Seaside Terror is inspired by the classic British Seaside Holiday and Portmanteau Horror films from the 1970’s. A Portmanteau narrative is when five stand-alone stories are surrounded by a framing narrative. So in our case the framing narrative is our ice cream van and it’s creepy owner and each story focuses on a different part of the town, the arcade, the beach or a weird bed and breakfast. We love dark humour; ideas that make laugh and your toes curl at the same time, and that what you get with Seaside Terror. It’s packed with funny and freaky jokes and disturbing visual surprises. Expect to be scared but also laugh out loud.
Seaside Terror contains stories about a variety of different characters, can you name a character in the show that you’re particularly fond of? It has to be Shirley Fisher. She’s a cabaret singer from The Palladium who has fallen on hard times. She performs an amazing song and dance routine to tell her story and the audience always fall in love with her. I won’t tell you what happens to her but let’s say its fairly grizzly.
How do you go about creating your characters? For example, are they based on real-life people? For this show we tried to create characters inspired by well-known horror films. So the horror buff out there will recognise a few. Then because they are puppets we have great fun designing them. First we think about how we want them to move and create a skeleton and joints to realise this. We then create mood boards full of visual ideas and photos, from this sculpt the face and dress them. For this show we worked with a costume designer who made really intricate clothes for all the puppets. They look really beautiful so be sure to look closely.
Thinking about your show, what’s the one thing overall that you hope audiences will take away from seeing the show? We really want for them to have had a great time and laughed a lot. It is based on horror but above this it is really really funny. So they leave with an aching face from all the laughter and a wary heart from all the horror! We also want them to have a full experience so they are offered real ice creams, receive a newspaper about the town and have a chance to meet the puppets after the show. We want them to feel satisfied, like they have had a full evening entertainment in just one hour.
At the Georgian Theatre Royal earlier this year… (photo source)
Of all the work you’ve done (not exclusively in rural touring) what’s been your professional highlight to date? We love rural touring and taking our work to unusual places. I have to say my personal professional highlight was when we were doing a rural tour with our family show, The Worried Walrus. We took it to a school in South Wales and had an audience of over 200. Many of the children had never seen a live theatre show and they went wild for the songs and puppets. It was great fun and inspired us to make this show suitable for rural touring. We designed the set especially for it with special lighting and magical visual tricks.
Have you been to North Yorkshire before? If so, do you have a particular favourite location or place to visit? If not, is there anything you’re keen to see or do whilst you’re here? We come from Yorkshire. Kathleen grew up near York and we both lived in Leeds for 15 years. We also trained together at Bretton Hall. So North Yorkshire is very close to our hearts. We also love Skipton because of the puppet festival. Every two years Lempen Puppet Theatre produce a puppet festival there that takes place over a weekend and is packed with amazing puppets and a huge parade. It’s excellent.
And finally, with Halloween soon coming up, what would be your go-to Halloween character to dress up as? I would have to dress up as Roxanne Ferrel from the show. It is me dressed as her on the poster and I think I look fantastic, well fantastic in a weird, messed up way. When we took the photo, we spent a day in Southport with me dressed like that, carrying an axe dripping with blood. It was great fun and I’d love to dress up like that again.
Find out more about Odd Doll Theatre on their website.