"Oh Whistle And I'll Come To You" by New Perspectives
Kicking off at the Bonington Theatre in Arnold, New Perspectives launch their touring production Friday night in Arnold. Adapted by David Rudkin from the M R James ghost story it tells of Professor Parkins, a professor of Ontography, and his visit to a seaside guest house where he finds an old whistle with a Latin inscription on it, warning the finder not to blow the whistle on fear of being visited....but by whom....or what?
Mark Jardine (Parkins) starts off as the archetypal Professor image, very clever with his words and, after blowing the whistle, starts to experience strange things. This rapidly manifests into a full blown visit from, something, which sends him even more rapidly into complete madness.
The two-hander is completed by Jack Wilkinson as Hobbis. Hobbis runs the crumbling guest house and you get the feeling that maybe he's in on what is happening. Whether he is or not, you never find out but there's something about him that doesn't quite ring true.
Both actors, complete opposites in their roles. One is of average intelligence and the other is more intelligent (the roles by the way, I'm not referring to the actors). One is reasonably down to earth and accepts things that happen at face value, and the other finds an explanation for any thing that questions the mind.
That again is something that I enjoyed. This play provides you with the questions and leaves you to make up your mind about the issues raised. Did the Professor imagine it all? Was he on the way to madness and did this just push him over the edge? Was what Hobbis telling the Professor all true, especially when the OCD Professor was obviously suffering from lack of sleep?
And we all know what the mind can imagine with sleep deprivation! But who was the faceless person continually running towards his room, and was he really expecting a colleague up to the guest house to stay? So many questions that the play throws up in one's fertile mind.
The play starts with a bit of cinematography to set the scene and the feel, almost like an old "Hammer House Of Horror" TV episodes from the 70's. Anthony Wise, as Uncle Monty, is telling a Christmas story to his class of boys. but would you feel safe sending your children to be looked after by such a strange "uncle"?. These sections were filmed by Joe Mee.
The angular set straight away puts you off kilter, creating an almost vertigo style feeling and is really effective to get you in the mind set of the onset of crazy.
A wonderful lighting design by Mark Pritchard which created an eerie feel with the flickering lights and back lit scenery, showing shadowy images, but of who?
I've learnt something tonight as well, a new word. Poetical machine. This is a piece of equipment that creates audio projects for the theatre, and Adam McCready designed a marvellous soundscape for this play, adding, to the lights, the needed spookiness for a chilling story.An all round brilliant job done by the technical team.
Directed by Theresa Keogh and designed by Cecilia Carey, this play which is being performed in various locations around the county is stylishly done, although in parts the Professor's wordy speeches lost me at times, it didn't detract from my overall enjoyment of the play.
Plus I was really impressed with the manifestation of the visitor. This will make you feel just a little on edge with the build up to this part. saying nothing else as you should go and see it yourself.
For details of the tour and where you can see "Oh Whistle" visit their website which is www.newperspectives.co.uk.