“Charles Dickens-The Haunting”
Nottingham Lace Market Theatre
Nottingham Lace Market Theatre
Wasn’t it one of the characters in Charles Dickens’ “The Pickwick Papers” who said ‘I wants to make your flesh creep’? Well there are many of Dickens’ books that have featured supernatural visitations, so this play by Hugh Janes, which has been adapted from several of Dickens’ original ghost stories is a salacious supernatural selection of spookiness.
A young book dealer, David Filde, is employed by a former associate of his uncle to catalogue an impressive library at his crumbling old mansion. But a series of strange and unexplained events occur and Filde begins to fear for his safety. He tries to convince his employer that the ghostly happenings are real and the two men stumble across a dark and terrifying secret that will change their lives forever……….
To tell the truth, this play left me cold.....due to the shivers that watching this play sent up and down my back. People will obviously make comparisons between this play and "The Woman In Black", but I tell you what, this play is the better of the two. There are several "chill" moments and just as many jumpy moments which should satisfy any fan of this sort of genre, as well as anyone who loves absorbing theatre.
Damian Frendo plays Filde, and you can feel the nervous fear in his delivery of the script. I found myself watching Filde and not Frendo, which may, to some seem a weird thing to say, but any actor will know that their main aim is to make the audience believe in the character that they are playing, and Damian certainly did that.
Lady Gray is played by Emma Carlton, and possibly my favourite of Emma's roles. She pronounced and enunciated every word, making Lady Gray a character to keep your eyes and ears on. Most of the humour came from Lady Gray's lines in a Penelope Keith style.
Elise Matter plays Mary, and Director Adam Goodchild had told me that this character was scary, and he was not wrong. The air of unearthly detachment was presented so well and the make up for Elise was spot on, especially when she is seen in the light of a lightning flash.
Twitching is played by Christopher Collins, Not a big part for Chris but sets the mood for what was to come right at the start of the play.
Appearing in voice only, as old Lord Gray is the unmistakable tones of Richard Fife, even with the sound effect on his voice.
Making his directorial debut for the Lace Market Theatre is Adam Goodchild and what a way to do it. Technically this is one play that is great fun for a Director to play with, but he didn't go over the top and the slow burn of the spirit making her presence felt was perfect.
This play shows that saying nothing at all can say more than a page full of script. At the start of Act two there is a silence on stage for a few minutes, and in that silence the atmosphere and tension built on the ending of Act one.A possible worry for any Director and actor, but not in this play
The set, which is designed by Hannah Eccleston and Adam Goodchild, gives you that "WOW" factor. The detail in every part of this set ensures that you always have somewhere to look, a good idea to get in there early for a proper look at it. I was sat in the perfect seat because the "magic" of theatre within the set could not have been better. I will not expand on that for fear of giving away anything that may spoil your theatrical experience.
When a play of this kind is produced, the sound effects and the lighting effects really add to the whole atmosphere, and Matthew Allcock and Allan Green, respectively just nailed it.The whole atmosphere was enhanced by their magic and was part of the reason that I left just a little uneasier than when i went in.
There’s lots of good old fashioned theatrical magic and trickery used to create what you see in this play and you can really become enveloped in this creepy story. I knew some of what to expect but when you don't know where that magic is going to materialise it still takes you by surprise.
“The Haunting” is at the Lace Market Theatre until Saturday 20 January 2018 but hurry as the Saturday matinee is already sold out, so get those ticket while you still have a ghost of a chance of seeing this spirited production as it’s ex-spectred to sell out pretty quickly!