Wednesday, July 6

Tales from the Tombstone Tavern: The Narrator – Ameena Hamid Productions Ltd

The final episode of Tales from the Tombstone Tavern, the new six part podcast series written by Delmar Terblanche and directed by Jamie Boucher, is an existential meta-narrational crisis, which finds our monsters questioning their sense of reality thanks to the malevolent presence of the omnipresent and anonymous Narrator (Delmar Terblanche).

An ominous musical opening dissolves into a panicked, blind and paralysed Vlad (Joshua Manning) who assumes that after a drunken evening he has managed to lock himself into his own coffin. However he soon realises there is more to his predicament than that and our Narrator begins to tell him off for his and his friends’ exploration of the deplorable genre of horror.

The Narrator then begins working through the remaining monsters, pointing out to them firstly, that they are not real, and secondly, their experiment is highly distasteful and they are, as they were worried in episode one, entirely outdated and completely irrelevant. But our Narrator, doesn’t bargain for Shirley’s (Anna Chedham-Cooper) determination for both her, and her genre, to survive.

Sena Bryer’s portrayal of Annie is this episode has a nice angry, hysterical quality to it. Her discussion with the Narrator is highly charged and Terblanche’s smug, entitled tone is stretched by both her and Chedham-Cooper’s single-minded performance as Shirley. Fagent’s terror as Wolfgang the Wolfman is absolute and nicely echoes Manning’s unnerved portrayal of Vlad. 

This episode utilises sound effects well, with vocal distortion, echoes and flashbacks to previous episodes bringing everything nicely together. Wry commentary on the nature of metafiction itself nicely matches the tone of the rest of the series.

This is a good close to an excellent series which has explored horror and its subgenres over the Halloween period. The purpose of horror and what it teaches us have been well explored and how it fits into society and our relationships is interesting. Perhaps one day we will return to the Tombstone Tavern to answer more questions. Adam’s interest in zombies may be more fully examined or other monsters may be invited to join the group.

But for now, only one question remains: trick or treat?

All episodes of Tales from the Tombstone are now available wherever you listen to podcasts.

Reviewer: Donna M Day

Reviewed: 31st October 2020

North West End UK Rating: ★★★

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