INTERVIEW: Natasha Hodgson from Kill The Beast talks DIRECTOR’S CUT

DIRECTORS CUT by Kill The Beast

Natasha Hodgson from Kill The Beast talks about their new show DIRECTOR’S CUT and how the theatre company have perfected their style over the years

Ahead of its premiere at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in August, Kill the Beast Theatre Company bring their new show DIRECTOR’S CUT to The Lowry next month.

Described as a “hilarious farce with a twist of horror”, DIRECTOR’S CUT is a ghost story set on a 1970s film set. A lead actress takes her revenge from beyond the grave, determined to stop filming on the final (and truly terrible) movie she ever made. The fast-paced comedy mixes with live footage with on-stage spectacle to deliver a live comedy horror theatre show like no other.

Ahead of its debut at The Lowry, Natasha Hodgson from Kill The Beast talks about her new role and how the theatre company have perfected their style over the years.

Tell us a bit about ‘Director’s Cut’ and how you came up with the idea for the show.

We were chatting in a lovely sunny garden one day about our favourite horror films (classic sunshine chat) and how amazing, iconic films never seem to manage iconic sequels. You don’t get ‘The Shining 2: This Time It’s Shinier’, you don’t see ‘The Thing 2: Things’, you know?

We started talking about Rosemary’s Baby (one of our favourites) and imagining what a terrible sequel to Rosemary’s Baby – Rosemary’s Toddler? – might look like. And what if, whilst filming this terrible sequel, the spirit of the original film came back to wreak vengeance on this terrible follow-up? Is it possible to ruin a film simply because it never should have been made?

We loved the idea of a haunted film set, of playing with iconic film references but giving them a Beastly spin – and we wanted to sort of pay homage to those amazing 70s horror films, but without needing our audiences to have seen them to enjoy the show. We also were desperate to figure out how exactly one might create a ghost onstage… big white sheets, anyone?

What character do you play in ‘Director’s Cut’ and what do you love about them most?

I play a couple of characters, but my favourite is an older actor called Judy Goose, she’s been in the industry forever, and although she’s done a whole host of arthouse films, she’s always most excited about her adverts for Simpkin’s Soapy Scrubbers (“for wives and for mothers”) because of their big, fat pay-cheques. You’ll also learn that she’s a dab-hand at dealing with a dead body. But you’ll have to see the show to find out which one…

Kill The Beast DIRECTOR'S CUT

Kill the Beast are known for their comedic style and projected staging. Will ‘Director’s Cut’ follow suit?

Comedically – absolutely! Our hearts belong to ridiculous, dark and silly jokes, and that’s always going to be at the forefront of everything we make. However, we’re ditching the projections this time around, in favour of actual AV screens – it makes ghost trickery a lot more fun. We’ve done three shows with projected sets, and this time around we wanted to build something solid from scratch – we’ve got a real-life 70s film set on stage, and we can’t wait to cause catastrophes within it.

Your last show ‘Don’t Wake The Damp’ won The Stage Edinburgh Award in August 2016. What was that like?

Well, since it was in Edinburgh Fringe, I think our overriding memories of it were that it was both hungry and tired? No, obviously it was so, so wonderful to be recognised for trying to do something so big and dumb and ambitious, we were really, really proud, and overjoyed that a show about world-eating tentacles was deemed worthy of such a glorious award. If it means just one more theatre group put murderous tentacles at the forefront of their next show, we’ll have done our job.

You’ve been associate artists of The Lowry for six years now. How has Kill the Beast developed over that time, and how important is it for theatre’s to offer artist development opportunities?

We wouldn’t exist without the support of The Lowry. They picked us up as mewling babies, coddled us to their bosoms and now we emerge as sulky, theatrical teenagers. Or something. They’ve given us financial support, space to rehearse, confidence to try new things and cups of tea when we need it most (2 weeks before any new show is unleashed upon the world when we are nothing but dead eyes and wringing hands).

We feel so, so lucky to be supported by them, and if more theatres provided the sort of 360 care and help that they do, the emerging theatre scene would be able to take a lot more risks, and make a lot more fantastic stuff. But hell, it’s a hard time for the arts. It’s a hard time for a lot of stuff. Best thing we can recommend? Come see a silly, fast-paced comedy about a vengeful, opinionated ghost. That will probably sort everything out.

DIRECTOR’S CUT debuts at The Lowry from 7 – Sat 9 June 2018. For more information or tickets visit The Lowry website, or call box office on 0843 208 6000.

About Donna

Donna is the Editor of Frankly, My Dear UK. By day, she is a digital marketing whizz, by night she reviews film, theatre and music for a wide range of publications including WhatsonStage, The Public Reviews and ScreenRelish. Loves Shakespeare, prosecco and Formula 1