Event review: CarnEvil

GALWAY GETS its first taste of a scare attraction this Halloween season with CarnEvil, running throughout October in the old printing works behind the Connacht Tribune on Market Street.

The show is an immersive, walk-through production, in which audience members tentatively feel their way via a narrow, winding, pitch-dark, corridor, and through a series of sepulchral rooms where various grisly sights await to startle the bejazus out of them. Nor is the corridor itself a fright-free zone, as sinister masked figures are apt to loom up suddenly in your path to take you unawares. At one stage punters are required to squeeze their way through an enveloping rubbery passageway which feels a bit like trying to negotiate one’s way through a birthing canal, and will certainly press any claustrophobic buttons lurking in one’s psyche. Another stretch of ‘corridor’ requires the audience to get down on their hands and knees and shuffle along blindly like moles.

So is this fiendish combination of design, costume, and performance truly scary? Well, these days my blood is more likely to run cold at the sight of bills, bank statements, or letters from the Revenue rather than meeting ghosts or ghouls so I emerged from CarnEvil relatively unshaken. Also, I went to one of the early evening shows when there were only a handful of other thrill-seekers sharing the experience whereas I can well imagine that a larger crowd late at night, perhaps ‘loosened up’ with a tipple or two in the pub beforehand, would ensure more squeals and shrieks of terrified delight.

I felt the brief scenarios involving actors, which are played out in the rooms, could have been more developed, there was a sense of the performers just ‘ad-libbing’ being spooky. The €18 for full price ticket seems steep for a show that clocks in at under half an hour, albeit this is almost the same price as the Damnation scare show staged last year in Dublin. Yet, those of a nervous disposition will likely love CarnEvil so fill your quaking boots horror fans.

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