Ideomotor, London Horror Festival

By guest reviewer Michaela Clement-Hayes

There’s nothing quite like sibling rivalry and the hatred you feel for your brother or sister is only matched by one thing. The hatred you often feel for your flat mates. It doesn’t matter how much you love them, there are times when you just want to kill them. True to form, there’s not a lot of love lost between flat mates Charlie, Leo and Penny. Leo (Paul Duncan McGarrity) has just moved to London from up north and is trying to fit in. The trouble is, he goes to work all day and Charlie (David Ahmad) and Penny (Brydie Lee-Kennedy) don’t. They also don’t clean, cook or remember his birthday. So when Leo comes home to find the other two holding a seance for Lenny Henry (Penny’s AWOL hamster), tempers fray and lies begin to unravel. But is the ouija board being manipulated by one of his flatmates, or is it actually trying to warn them?

With Ideomotor, writer and director Gavin Innes has taken an everyday familiar situation and given it a slight paranormal twist. It seems like your average house-share drama – missing food, issues with the cleaning rota and a couple of accidents involving alcohol, but is there more to it? The script perhaps tries too hard to be funny in places but the audience do enjoy most of the jokes and although some of the twists are easy to guess, we are still left trying to piece the puzzle together following an ending that is quite creepy, but brilliantly executed.

The actors themselves are believable and while nerves perhaps get the better of them a couple of times, movement is slick and the space is used well. At first glance the set (designed by Isabella Van Braeckel) looks simple, but the attention to detail is actually very precise, from the discreet name labels on the jars of herbs to the reduced sticker on the pizza box and even the new 5p bags from Sainsbury’s.

Despite its weaknesses, Ideomotor is a story as dark as its humour is light, lulling the audience into a false sense of security before throwing them off their guard and leaving them with many unanswered questions.

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