“He received them with a strange delight”
As an intellectual exercise, Golem!’s Tomorrow Creeps is something of a delight – a new play by David Fairs stitched together from 16 works by Shakespeare and shot through with lyrical inspiration from Kate Bush. And in the dark and dank surroundings of the Cavern, with creepingly textured sound work from Odinn Hilmarsson and a powerfully atmospheric lighting design (uncredited), the potential of the piece is palpable.
The reality is something a little more elusive though. In this shadowy world, strangeness abounds. The Hollow Hero has imprisoned The Fallen Tyrant but needs his help for something or other; the malevolent Tyrant misses his dead wife as she is called The Spectral Queen, it turns out she’s closer to hand than he thinks; and the supernatural haunts everything they do with noted kook Hecate willing to cause nuisance at the shake of a salt cellar.
The unforgiving acoustics of this space mean that it is hard enough to work out this much and there well have been much more to it. But there isn’t a huge amount of clarity in the storytelling either, something exacerbated by the nature of the text which ends up feeling like Shakespeare’s greatest hits, as the mind can’t help but wander in working out where each line is coming from (and feeling a little smugly satisfied when you do recognise one).
In some ways, Tomorrow Creeps might have worked better in being a little more obtuse, rather than trying to craft something of a conventional narrative out of this grab-bag of source material. It’s hard not to feel that erring on the side of the moodily atmospheric, thus suiting the random Kate Bush movement numbers inserted here and there, rather than overloading the Shakespearean references would considerably amplify its power.