Written & Directed by Mikyla Durkan
The CASA, Hope Street
Friday 26th October 2012
There’s something to be said for theatre that takes a stance and
stands its ground, and that’s exactly what Liverpool-based Burjesta
Theatre have done with their new Halloween variety production, The Real
Opening on a young boy, Joe (Adam Byrne) secretly watching a Halloween
TV special, we are introduced to a host of ghosts, ghouls, vampires and
witches, each vignette presenting us with a series of familiar Halloween
creepies. But that’s where the standard Halloween fair begins and
ends. As Joe’s Mum (Kate Mulvihill) comes in and tucks her boy back
into bed we watch each mystical character disappear – and realise
this is going to be a Halloween show with a difference.
Throughout the rest of the piece we watch Joe grow up and start working
as an apprentice on a chemical treatment plant which is responsible for
clearing away huge amounts of asbestos. Concurrently, we watch the establishment
of asbestos as a wonder product in the 1800’s, and the growth of
the North West as the UK’s major location for chemical production.
We look on as we are taken on a journey that shows us the terrifying possibility
of a future where the honeybee has become extinct, chemicals are used
to create a world “better than nature” and the human race
has failed to heed the warning signs presently all around us.
The play is warm and humorous, and the enthusiasm and commitment of the
cast is a joy to behold. The often serious nature of the subject matter
is never aloof or exclusive and the company manages to convey a message
in an accessible and comprehensive way. There were times where some of
the devised, physical tableaus could have been edited somewhat with occasional
moments feeling slightly overlong and silent, but the passion of the whole
company always shone through.
If you want a different kind of Halloween viewing this year, and if you
appreciate bold and brave theatre, then you could certainly do worse than
to support this exciting local company. Proving that politically and environmentally
engaged theatre can be both entertaining and accessible, Burjesta Theatre
have triumphed with their Halloween Variety show with a difference.
Further performances are on at The CASA on Monday 29th October from 7:30pm
and a Halloween Night Special on Wednesday 31st October from 9:30pm to
late. Tickets are £5 on the door or reservations can be made by
phone on 07913 449396.
For more information on Burjesta Theatre check out their website at