OWDYADO’S ‘TWISTED TALES’ IN HALSTOCK

Thanks to the marvellous Artreach touring programme, Owdyado Theatre Company from Cornwall have built-up a firm following in Dorset and a buzz of anticipation awaited them on their latest call at Halstock Village Hall on Sunday 7thOctober. And if you were a gamer, a fan of The Twilight Zoneor just a lover of black humour and psychological drama, you were not to be disappointed. Even if you simply enjoy a well-told story with pace and a lacing of dark humour, you were in for a treat. 

As a resident company at the acclaimed Hall for Cornwall in Truro Owdyado’s credentials are firmly-established and their trademark is always an amusing but thought-provoking yarn. This time they presented ‘Twisted Tales’ a trilogy of 30-minute playlets, each with a dark interior to which the audience needed to apply a little mind-juggling to engage with all that was on offer. 

Co-writers and core company performers Daniel Richards and Charlotte Bister switched ably from coarse and vaguely irritating contestants in a locked-room revenge game to a co-habiting couple with a more-than-what-it-seems relationship. In the third piece, a pair of familiar kids-show presenters harboured a dark secret lurking under the desk, with a manipulative puppet that had more to do with Chucky than Sooty. Throughout they were ably supported by new member Chloe Endean in a variety of voices and roles, sometimes sinister, sometimes comfortingly familiar. 

Their unsettlingly menacing black set was flexible but the reuse throughout of the same three pieces of staging spoke of budgetary constraints over an artistic need to reflect more clearly the three individual storylines. Lighting and sound however were well measured and projected both malign and mundane situations clearly and cleverly.

This talented trio still have dates to play in South Wales, Devon and Cornwall before attacking Edinburgh, presumably next year, where the show deserves to do well, although a little pruning of the script would help, as 2hr 15 minutes may prove overlong for many Edinburgh Fringe venues and audiences.

Tony Hill

October 10 2018

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