Trick or Treat by John Gatehouse

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TRICK OR TREAT from Wireless Theatre Company

Wireless Theatre Company, UK, 31 October 2011
This picaresque ghost story told of two ghostly friends Oswald (Nathan Cross) and Ralph (Anthony Glennon) spending Hallowe'en night at Monster Mansion. Needless to say their experiences were not altogether pleasant: Oswald was scared off by his shadow, and the two friends were subsequently menaced by "werekins" - pumpkins transformed into werewolves by virtue of having swallowed werewolf saliva. The sight of two ghosts fleeing from anthropomorphic pumpkins was greeted with gales of laughter by Wicked Witch Belladonna (Ann Theato), who enjoyed the pleasure of seeing younger ghosts suffer. Ralph and Oswald emerged unscathed from the ordeal, and looked forward to causing mayhem for themselves, as they saw some children come to the door of Monster Mansion in search of tricks or treats. However their dreams were frustrated: the children turned out to be disguised monsters, who chased Ralph and Oswald all round the mansion once more. This denoument proved the truth about Hallowe'en; on this night, anyone cam become a monster.
Trick or Treat depicted a saturnalian world of spooky pleasures, where anything (and anyone) could be transformed into anything they wanted to be, while enjoying the party atmosphere. No one was going to suffer - even though Ralph and Oswald were (perhaps deservedly) scared out of their wits for a moment or two. The story was narrated by David McCaffrey, who took great pleasure in delivering John Gatehouse's language, full of alliterations and long sentences comprised of gruesome subordinate clauses. As a children's story, the narrative referred to everything that they might find dirty and filthy: toilets, the bike sheds being two examples.
Saskia Willis' production relished in the use of sound effects to create a gruesome ambience - I particularly liked the way in which the sound of "werekins" was recreated, with blood-curdling growls alternating with squishy sounds as they moved inexorably towards the two young ghosts.
Trick or Treat was a wonderfully entertaining tale - something that could be enjoyed on its own terms, as well as providing the stimulus for classroom activities in schools and/or playgroups.