Horror is a genre seldom taken up by theatre companies, but UnSpun Theatre’s Minotaur manages to creep under our skin and bore into our subconscious fears.
Christopher Hanratty, James Cade and Tricia Lahde play a professor and two teaching assistants who look into unexplained urban phenomena. One of their case histories concerns Nora and Kieran, a couple whose lives came apart in a mysterious Toronto building that may be haunted.
Using old photographs, a semi-scientific method of enquiry and items found at the site, the three attempt to re-enact what may have happened to the couple. Cade and Lahde begin to lose themselves in the role-playing.
It’s essentially a haunted house story, but as in The Blair Witch Project, the documentary device adds a layer of authenticity to the chills. The artists (the script was penned by the company) know that what we imagine is scarier than anything we might see. The actors get deep into their roles-within-roles, and director Christopher Stanton employs lighting and sound to wear down our defences.
Too bad about the rambling, inconsequential lead-up to the show, performed in the theatre’s lobby. Although there are one or two surprises here, it’s not as effective as it could have been in setting up the frights to come.