Review: The Call of Cthulhu / Author: H.P. Lovecraft / Starring: Michael Sabbaton / Release Date: Out Now
Michael Sabbaton’s stage adaptation of classic horror story The Call of Cthulhu amazed audiences a couple of years ago with its inventive approach to the H.P. Lovecraft’s signature tale of degeneration and madness; it was a one man show with minimal props and atmospheric lighting. Sabbaton has adapted the piece into an audio drama, and nothing has been lost in the translation.
Sabbaton is chameleon-like in his performance; he effortlessly shifts from role to role, and uses audio’s greatest strength (the ability to make listeners imagine impossible things) to its full effect, and this approach works very well with the source material. There’s also a strange sort of joy in hearing someone utter the alien language from Lovecraft’s seminal work, and the words “Ph’nglui mglw’nafh Cthulhu R’lyeh wgah’nagl fhtagn” have never been more terrifying.
This is a delightfully creepy production, the incidental music is appropriately scary and the special effects are just understated enough to be get under your skin. It’s a little bit in your face at times, and this is certainly not light listening; it is not recommended for a late night drive, but it will certainly do the trick if you want to be nicely scared, which is quite a feat given that the story it’s based on is eighty-five years old and has been ripped off and re-used extensively. The drama is both engaging and genuinely disturbing, mostly due to the strength of the actor’s performance. Fans of all things H.P. Lovecraft will find this just sort of thing they like, and those who are only familiar with Cthulhu as a comedy internet meme may find this a good place to start educating themselves.