BLOOD & STONE – A Lullaby For Elizabeth Bathory
London Horror Festival
19.30, 30th. October 2013, Etcetera Theatre, 265 Camden High Street
London NW1 7BU (Above Oxford Arms pub), Camden (Tickets £10)
1610: Hungary’s real life ‘vampire’ countess is imprisoned in her castle, the most prolific serial killer in history. But at this year’s London Horror Festival, storyteller Marty Ross is going to set her free….
It’s one of history’s great horror stories – the Countess who bathed in blood to preserve her beauty. It has inspired horror films from Hammer’s ‘Countess Dracula’ to recent efforts starring Julie Delpy and Anna Friel. Those accounts have focused upon the Countess’ gory heyday, but the emphasis in Marty Ross’ storytelling show is on the aftermath… the ageing Countess punished by being locked for years in a lightless chamber in her castle, her hunger fierce as ever. Blood And Stone imagines a young maid listening to the Countess’ protestations of innocence - and being lured into unlocking the door of the cell….
Those who saw storyteller Marty Ross’ performances at last year’s London Horror Festival, or at this year’s Edinburgh Fringe, will know his storyteller’s ability to shape-shift through the forms and voices of a myriad of strange characters, male and female. Well established as a playwright, particularly with dark drama for BBC radio (Ghost Zone, Catch My Breath, Darker Side Of The Border, this month’s Lady Macbeth Of Mtsensk), plus Doctor Who & award-nominated Dark Shadows audio drama– as well as the audio drama version of Blood And Stone, nominated for a 2012 Rondo Award (horror fandom’s Oscars) - as a storyteller he is a whole dramatis personae in himself, a key figure in the current revival of this oldest – and yet suddenly most modern - of theatrical forms. As Broadway Baby said of his show 21st. Century Poe (also at the London Horror Festival on Halloween), “Ross is a master craftsman who never turns down the pressure, painting vile pictures and weaving a grotesque spell over his listeners… Certain images were so repulsive that people in the front row were noticeably squirming”. Using not just powerful words, but mime and gesture indebted to the likes of German Expressionism, Ross’ storytelling is more Theatre Of Cruelty than Book At Bedtime, creating vivid on-stage images, even as he projects more scarifying images still into the audience’s imaginations… which is where the really scary stuff always happens….
Reviews for Ross’ storytelling at the Edinburgh Fringe:
“Insanely good storytelling… a master craftsman who never turns down the pressure… violently impressive….” – Broadway Baby *****
“Ross has a great aptitude for suspense and terror… chilling.” – The Scotsman
“Visceral. A compelling narrator and onstage presence. … left you thinking as well as reeling… theatre that kept you on edge… an immensely entertaining ride that scared and shocked in equal measure – a fair ground ghost ride for the 21st Century….” – Fringe Review