Pleasance, Edinburgh
August, 2001

**** Glorious mickey-take of bad horror writing

Last year's surprise Perrier nominees return with an identically structured but just as funny hour-long show.

Garth Marenghi is a fictional horror writer: he sells novels by the truckload and loves himself for it, but his writing keeps dipping into banal literalism and absurdity. After an introduction by his editor, Marenghi appears on stage to bask in our supposed regard and then act out one of his stories, this time with an Egyptian flavour involving an ancient tablet, a huge crow, a walking brain and the most astonishing portrayal of a camel I have ever seen.

The trio behind the Marenghi company are highly accomplished at what Ken Campbell calls "doing it crappily": keeping straight faces through endless incidents of supposed incompetence and downright dradful writing and performance, which are all of course quite deliberate. They have a fine collective eye for unintentional ludicrousness, but need to trust themselves a little more; they keep throwing in bits which are downright wacky and disrupt the flow of the main po-faced parody. The similarities between this show and the last one suggest that it may not be possible to take the Marenghi idea much further, but while it's here it's a daft delight.

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Copyright © Ian Shuttleworth; all rights reserved.

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