The Ugly Spirit, Square Chapel

The culmination of the reborn process. Sara with her likeness, Sara pictured near her home in Downhill, Northern Ireland. Picture Charles McQuillan/Pacemaker.
The culmination of the reborn process. Sara with her likeness, Sara pictured near her home in Downhill, Northern Ireland. Picture Charles McQuillan/Pacemaker.

Powerful and important, this latest theatrical offering from the very wonderful Fitting Multimedia Arts was intriguing to say the least. It is a rare privilege to see such an inventive and inclusive piece of theatre at a venue in Halifax and is another shiny relic to add to the Square Chapel’s growing reputation within the industry.

The performance is best defined as a “theatrical happening”, the lucky audience members are asked to become freak show spectators, watching, listening, tasting and more importantly indulging in the evening’s bizarre offerings.

Staged in true promenade the entire venue was transformed into a machine, with its insides ripped apart, re-ordered and assembled to enable it to uniquely house the performance. The highlight for me was the use of suggestional symbolism; clues and artefacts are offered in various forms and then cleverly reappear within the plot, simple but yet so utterly effective.

David Hoyle manipulates the audience well and plants the seed of intrigue, confidently leading us through the bizarre sideshow world. There are other strong performances from Gareth Kieran Jones and Rachel Drazek with Denise Leigh providing vocal support. The Ugly Spirit is currently coming to the end of its short tour of the UK and is part of the cultural Olympiad. It offers its lucky audience members a theatrical challenge and is a truly unique experience, public money very well spent. Catch it before the torch burns out.