Preview: Raven (Elf Lyons)

Ready for Halloween? Head for the Soho Theatre to see award-winning comedian Elf Lyons’s new show, Raven which arrives in London after a short tour.

We caught up with Elf to find out a bit more about the show.

Runs at Soho Upstairs, 27 Oct-5 Nov at 9.15pm. Ticket link:

Promotional photo of Elf Lyons and Raven

Your Halloween show opens soon in Soho, “a horrifying comedy” called Raven. What should audiences expect?

They should expect cathartic, euphoric chaos, a little bit of hysteria and lots of laughter – and the occasional scream of terror. Like a traditional love-making session. 

Raven is a melting pot of punk comedy energy. Audiences tend to leave shell shocked and happy. Which is how I like to make everyone feel after any form of intimate encounter – which live comedy is. 

I love old-school storytelling on the stage. It really seems to be making itself heard in recent shows. What do you find most satisfying about it, and what’s difficult?

You have to avoid using adverbs and you have to let the audience fill in the gaps. To be a good storyteller you have to trust the audience that they have a better imagination than you have a vocabulary to describe the scenario to them.

Give them the essentials to the story and they’ll see to it themselves that they imagine all the joyous decorations to make it juicer to enjoy. This is most important with comedy and horror. 

The Soho Upstairs is such a smashing space which is very intimate and can be made to be almost anything. How has the venue influenced Raven in its current form?

I adapt the show for every venue it is in. Raven has been in almost every type of space you can imagine now, so it is strangely adaptable despite all the tech needs and props involved. It’s a pretty immersive show in that sense.

Production shot of Elf Lyons in Raven

I’ve performed at the Upstairs room many times so I feel very safe in that space. I also teach the Soho Theatre Comedy Lab Plus┬áthere every Saturday so I know all the┬áchairs intimately.

You’ve been quite a hit at the Edinburgh Fringe. How was it for you this year?

I got concussion which was a real headache and lived in a haunted house, which was ghostly. I met lots of lovely comedians and artists – saw a huge amount of international talent – and drank too much coffee.

Crucially, I joined a spa. Which was the most sensible thing I’ve ever done in my life. 

You’ve been described as “unpredictable” and “kooky”, good qualifications for a fun, scary show. What’s next for you?

Adding “Happy” and “financially stable” to the repertoire and adopting a cat. Many creative projects obviously, but I am excited about the cat the most. 

Production shot of Elf Lyons for Raven