A short, sharp spook story loaded with sideshow idiosyncrasies and occult ephemera
This article is from 2014.
At only 30 minutes in length and £5 a pop, with up to five performances a day, Antiquithon is placed as the perfect show-between-shows. A short, sharp spook story loaded with sideshow idiosyncrasies, the tale unfolds in a cabinet de curiosité run by the genial Ourelia Cazaniescu (Aurélie de Cazanove) and her moody mute brother Vodek (Gwen Aduh). What starts off as an eccentric display of occult ephemera and mesmerist parlour tricks gradually develops into something sinister and claustrophobic, as the tortured souls of Ourelia’s midget maestros and taxidermied tarantulas swarm around the incense-scented fug of the cabinet.
The audience are successfully roped into this world as performers: we are the gormless punters, taking a break from our rational and civilised lives to gawp at the backward curiosities of the uncultured east. De Cazanove’s performance is accordingly tinged with a subtext of desperation and resentment: she relies on these rubes to make her living, but knows they think of themselves as fundamentally superior to her own culture and background. Backed up by Aduh’s deadpan porter, she’s the not entirely trustworthy conductor on this rickety ghost train – and as with all good fairground rides, this one treats you to at least one big shock before it lets you off.
Institut Français d’Ecosse, 225 5366, until 23 Aug (not 11, 18), various times, £5 (£3).