Competition - The Thing That Came From Over There! by Gonzo Moose Theatre at The Mercury

Win four tickets to the Saturday night performance of this rip-roaring comedy adventure, inspired by the horror movies of the '50s!

The critically acclaimed trio that make up Gonzo Moose Theatre are bringing The Thing That Came From Over There to Colchester. It's a fast-paced rollicking ride, mixing paranoia, suspense and hilariously gruesome deaths - and we have four tickets to give away!

With comedy and thrills galore, the show features visual gags, verbal wit, giant puppetry, and even a little bit of live music.

We had a quick chat to Mark Dawson, co-founder and artistic director of Gonzo Moose who has appeared in all nine of their previous shows, and is a co-writer of and performer in the current show.

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Gonzo Moose Theatre is renowned for physical comedy & this time you're playing 15 roles between you - how tough has it been, mentally and physically?

The multi role playing is always the most fun aspect of Gonzo Moose shows. This time we’ve really tried to push it as far as we can with us changing characters in front of the audience. One scene at the beginning of the second half has the three of us playing 9 different characters in under 30 seconds. As we change hats when changing into a different character, the hardest part is to remember which hat you have on and which voice you’re supposed to be doing! Getting this scene right required us to really drill it again and again and again until it was second nature. Even after 100 performances, we still have to practice it before every performance and it can still go wrong. The most physically challenging aspect of the show isn’t the quick character changes, but the actual costumes. It never occurred to us in the pre production stages that setting a show in Artarctica would involve costumes consisting of warm coats and furry hats. I spend most of the show having to wear a large fur-lined hat designed for the height of winter. Couple that with hot stage lights, and it can get a little warm!

The play is inspired by 1950s horror - what’s your favourite example of the genre?

The great thing about this show was having an excuse to watch all these old B movies. The ones we enjoyed the most were sci-fi horror movies like The Blob, It Came From Outer Space and Invaders From Mars. We loved the melodrama, the cheesy lines and bad acting – perfect source material for a Gonzo Moose show. Our favourite was Howard Hawks' classic, The Thing From Another World. It really influenced how we wrote the show. The story of the movie concerns a US airforce crew in the Arctic. The crew itself has a leader who’s a military man, a doctor, a scientist, a journalist etc. We took the same idea and gave each of our characters a specific skill. So to go through some of the characters in our show, we have Captain Cranston Scot-t-t, man of action; Jeff, an old sea dog and teller of tall tales; the debonair Doc; Blinky, a photographer who’s too curious for his own good; and Nipper, the botanist with a big secret. Giving each character a specific skill or attribute also helped inspire us to find suitably stupid deaths when it came time to kill each of them off.

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We’ve heard the use of props and puppetry is particularly impressive in this production - are you new to puppetry and what are the particular skills required to get that right?

We like having fun with the props and our designer, Mandy, always makes sure the props are versatile so we can use them in lots of different ways. So two ski poles, a few skis, some boxes and a sheet of material can become a tent or a rucksack can become an alien. We all have experience of puppetry (to varying degrees) but the key thing that makes it work is believing in the creature you’re creating.

Have you played in Colchester before? Do you get any time to enjoy the town in between productions?

We’ve not played Colchester before and are very much looking forward to enjoying the famous Colchester nightlife after the show on Friday. Trip Advisor highly recommends a place called Liquid Envy but if anyone has any better suggestions of where is hip and happening in the town, please tweet us at @gonzomoose

So if shocks, spine tingling silliness, and blood curdling terror (well, midly hair-raising terror - it's suitable for ages 8+!) sound like your idea of a fun night out then email us on hello@colchesterlife.co.uk with the subject line Gonzo Moose, and your name and contact details by noon tomorrow (Friday, 16th) and we'll draw a lucky winner out of the hat!