Having seen The School Of Night, the Extempore Theatre’s improvised Shakespearean extravaganza, I’m afraid to say I was a little disappointed with The Society of the Strange. The cast of three creates three ghost stories throughout the hour running time based entirely off audience suggestions. Its creative and skillful, but it seems faulted at it’s core.
While Adam Meggido is the king of all things improvised, his two cast members, Alex Bartram and Andrew Pugsley, were quite stilted and awkward, constantly interrupting each other and failing to ‘spook’ when necessary. However, their talent is demonstrated by their versatility and knowledge that enables them to depict both tales of the American gothic and the English uncanny.
While this could have been an ‘off’ day, and perhaps the performers have settled into the spooky style by now. However, I can’t help but feel the concept itself is flawed. Improvisation is usually deeply rooted in comedy, and the choice to try to make improvisation ‘scary’ felt a tad jarring. The tone was confused. I was unsure whether I was allowed to laugh or not, which ultimately destroyed any chance of being scared.