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The Dark Carnival: Unplugged by Nikki Kalkman


Monday 13th May will mark the opening of The Dark Carnival: Unplugged. To quote the marketing material; The Dark Carnival: Unplugged is based on the recent five-star theatre theatre spectacular The Dark Carnival, this new ‘unplugged’ version features Biff Smith on acoustic guitar and narrator Robert Jack singing songs, clinking glasses and telling tales of the residents of Dickinsons Brae cemetery.

An Unplugged version of big, bold, beautiful The Dark Carnival that made its home in Dundee Rep, Traverse Theatre and Tramway only a few weeks ago.

But what is the difference? I hear you ask. Well, a fair amount, to be honest.

Welcome to the afterlife. It’s cosy and inviting. Come sit down next to us. Right here, beside the coffin. Don’t be scared. Together Robert and Biff will welcome you, with a glass of whisky, into an afterlife that you never imagined. It may look a great deal like a community hall but we want to keep things familiar.

We have stripped back the wonderful world of piled up coffins and the dancing dead. We have knocked down the walls, flat packed the coffin (Ikea could make a fortune with that idea) and pulled up the rugs as we went. We have packed up the drum kit and unplugged the amps. We have tucked away the base and the fiddle too. We have uprooted the gravestones and stripped the Angel of her wings and halo. The gravedigger has been given the night off and Heaven’s door has been put back on its hinges. We have packed up little Annie’s teddy, Major Toast’s ghost costume and Gary’s Geiger-counter too. Mrs Mark’s whiskey has been stored safely for a rainy day.

As for the residents of Dickinsons Brae: Mrs. Mark, Major Toast, little Annie, poor John and old Peter. Don’t worry they’re safe and sound. Still tucked up in their coffins. But they’ll be joining us only in spirit (pardon the pun) as our narrator Robert Jack and musician Biff Smith tell us the tale of their misadventures underground.

We have traded in our amps for an accordion and a couple of acoustic guitars. We have stolen a coffin, plucked a flower or two from the ground and maybe even done away with a few bottles of whiskey.

Robert and Biff will weave their story of Dicksinsons Brae with music and storytelling and you, the newly dead, will learn all they need to know about this strange but familiar world of the afterlife.

Nikki Kalkman was Assistant Director for The Dark Carnival and is Co-director of The Dark Carnival: Unplugged

Full tour dates here


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