EdFringe 2018 Review: The Devil You Know: A Horror Play

The Devil You Know: A Horror Play
Rating: ★★

Venue: Greenside

Horror writing is always hard to come by in the theatre so expectations are always high when a new genre piece makes it to the stage. The Devil You Know: A Horror Play is one such genre entry playing the Edinburgh Fringe Festival from The Nottingham New Theatre company. Whilst this is a well-intentioned piece, it does remind us why horror is such a challenging genre to bring to the stage.

Four friends gather in the woods and begin to meddle with demonic forces, ignoring the urban legends of the area. When only three of the group return safely from their trip, panic begins to spread within the other youngsters who slowly become aware of the evil they have awoken.

The Devil You Know cleverly blends video with stage performance to expand on the themes and scope of the production - as we see characters reveal their fears in vlogs or footage of our protagonists exploring the darkened woods. This paired with sharp sound design works to build the atmosphere of horror that the play attempts to channel.

Yet even this technical design is rooted in the problems of the play, and that is mainly how conventional it all feels. There's a slightly dull familiarity in this tale of teens going into the woods and meddling with evil forces - elements of possession and the supernatural creep into the narrative, not particularly helping build any sense of originality. Similarly the characters in The Devil You Know feel evocative of the standard horror protagonists - the mean girl, the slightly naive female friend, and the male friends in over their heads. Whilst conventionality is not necessarily detrimental to your enjoyment of the genre, The Devil You Know plays everything a little to straight to find enjoyment in other areas.

Fortunately an enthusiastic young cast commit to their roles well and there is entertainment to be found in watching the characters bounce off each other, regardless of how familiar their roles feel.

Casual audiences may find enjoyment in The Devil You Know: A Horror Play, but those familiar with the genre are unlikely to be invested in this familiar tale despite some solid efforts to liven the proceedings.
Theatre Review 1810976503966874033
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