Created as part of the Lowry’s ‘Developed with..’ project and supported by the Kevin Spacey Foundation and The Jerwood Charitable Foundation, the delightfully dark and delicious Casual Violence descend on the Lowry this week with their award winning tale of terror, tyranny and taxidermy, House of Nostril. Seen previously at the Edinburgh Fringe the Lowry’s ‘Developed with’ project has allowed Casual Violence to take this show to another level.
It’s a devilish, macabre and sinister tale which opened in the studio space on perhaps the most perfectly timed opening night for fiendish fun, Halloween. We meet various characters all acted out brilliantly in well thought out sketches which all link together to keep the storyline, albeit a balmy one, running along nicely. Writer James Hamilton has worked hard to develop characters that are grim and grotesque yet at times oddly loveable. We’re introduced to the family of Nostrils, dark and dastardly father Roger Nostril, his apparently meek and mild son Charlie and bonkers Uncle Gideon to name but a few. Ruthless Roger plots to defeat his mortal enemy, the CEO of Amnesty International with the unique use of voodoo dolls, thus ensues madness and mayhem plus lots and lots of laughs.
The characterization is strong and you soon find yourself caring about the strange and bizarre creatures doing equally off the wall things. Live onstage musical accompaniment from a very deadpan Ben Champion adds to the flow of the sketches and is well matched to create perfectly atmospheric moods. I particularly enjoyed the subtle blast of ‘Chim, chim, cher-ee’ during the rather macabre yet somehow charming chimney sweet scene….step in time.
The use of graphics and animation created by The Whole Buffalo adds another dimension to the piece, again well thought out and effective, the backdrop even becomes its own character by the end of the show, I actually for a moment sat considering its thoughts and opinions, a testament to just how strong this piece is.
House of Nostril is a wickedly funny show with some unexpectedly touching moments. Cleverly written and well acted by a very hard working team, Casual Violence have made the completely bonkers and balmy, touching, witty and wonderful.