He Had Hairy Hands
Kill the Beast's 1970s werewolf horror comedy is just shy of perfection at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe
This article is from 2014.
I let out a giddy gasp of relief when He Had Hairy Hands experienced a small lull in the second act – up until that point, it was headed for a perfect rating, and who would have credited that? ‘Five stars for a silly retro horror comedy about werewolves? Come on now, The List – what sort of easily-impressed Broadway babies are you hiring these days?’ My reputation, such as it is, would’ve been in shreds.
Because He Had Hairy Hands is incredibly, unbelievably funny. Between them, writer/performers David Cumming, Natasha Hodgson, Oliver Jones and Zoe Roberts (who, along with writer/director Clem Garrity, operate under the name Kill the Beast) expertly portray the finest selection of backwoods hicks, back-alley abortionists, supernatural detectives and sexually repressed weirdos this side of Royston Vasey. Mugging wildly beneath their inch-thick greasepaint, the foursome wring laughs from the audience with every highly-tuned weapon in their armoury, including physical comedy, tongue-twisting songs, outlandish costumery, live action montages, slapstick choreography, judicious use of props and some impeccable scripting. (Kudos also to the crew – Alex Purcell’s animations pay just the right amount of deference to Tim Burton’s Frankenweenie, while Fellswoop’s Ben Osborn seemingly has a surplus of talent on his hands, having managed to create wonderfully atmospheric work for both this project and the nearby Ablutions.)
Thank god, then, for that second act lull, where the rapid-fire delivery of jokes slows down just enough for the audience to catch their breath, and for foolhardy reviewers to step back from the brink of ridicule. Based on tonight’s performance, you’re more than capable of getting those five stars off me in the future, Kill the Beast, but not yet. Not yet.
Pleasance Courtyard, 556 6550, until 25 Aug (not 13), 6.30pm, £9–£11.50 (£8–£10).