The Devil You Know: A Horror Play (rating 3/5)
Found footage horror has oversaturated the genre in the past decade or so (starting way back in 1980 with Cannibal Holocaust and then popularised by the Blair Witch Project in 1999, leading to more recent and tired productions like the Paranormal Activity franchise) but it it very rare to see an attempt to translate it into a 50 minute stage show.
The Devil You Know: A Horror Play (by Emma Summerton) takes its cues from The Blair Witch – typical teens chasing an urban legend in the woods, discover something supernatural and everything goes to hell – and, while performed very ably by the young actors from the Nottingham New Theatre Group – it never really becomes anything truly original.
Which might be fine. There is certainly some creepy atmosphere to be experienced. Live action is played out alongside video footage the characters have recorded (though why, if shooting digital does the quality harken back to VHS?) and there is a superbly spine-tingling moment in which a glimpse of a strange tall being is seen on film.
The urban legend told to us is simplistic and it could do with some reworking or embellishing. To be really horrifying a legend must stand out and must have a hook that draws you in. This – the tree lady – is quite generic.
There are also problems to be found in the time skips which are more than a little confusing (something that could possibly be solved easily by using times and dates on the recorded footage) and the rather abrupt ending which explains less than it should.
Nevertheless The Devil You Know is an admirable effort and worth seeing if you are looking for something spooky.
The Devil You Know is at Olive Studio, Infirmary Street, on various dates until 25 August