Thursday, 22 May 2014

HAUNTING JULIA by Magpie Drama
Duchess Theatre, Long Eaton.

When you're looking forward to something, there's a danger of your expectation being too high and getting let down, Not so with this production from Magpie Drama.

Alan Ayckbourn's spooky story of a 19 year old music genius, Julia Lukin, who committed suicide 12 years previous to when the play is set. Julia's father, Joe Lukin, has brought ex boyfriend Andy, to see the Julia Lukin Music Centre, a public music facility and shrine from Joe to his daughter.

Joe has many questions that he still wants answers to, and since his wife, and Julia's mother, Dolly, died, this quest has become almost an obsession to Joe. Joe has also invited a psychic, Ken, along but this psychic is not quite what he seems and has a secret reveal half way through Act 1.

By the end of the play, you're still left with some unanswered questions and still not 100% sure just how and why Julia died. Was it really suicide? If not who was responsible for her death?

There are a couple of parts that will make you jump and this play holds just the right amount of suspense, in the same way that "The Woman In Black" theatre production did.

I'm not going to give away the ending but let me just say that it may leave you feeling a little uneasy if you have to walk from the theatre on your own.

The three actors, Mike Evans (Joe), Rick Law (Andy) and Dan Bates (Ken) put on a suspense filled performance which really kept you on the edge of your seat and cast doubts in your mind over what really happened to Julia. But there's a lot to laugh about as well in this play with some classic Ayckbourn comic lines, more than I had expected there to be.

Some good effects and a believable set, the play was played out in real time and I don't know if the heating was turned down for effect but there was definitely a chill in the air...or was that Julia making her presence felt?

Magpie Drama are building up a solid catalogue of great plays, this one following on the heels of John Godber's "Men Of the World", and the next one in July being "Punk Rock" by Simon Stephens.

"Haunting Julia" is on at The Duchess Theatre, Long Eaton until Saturday 24 May 2014

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