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The Turn Of The Screw – Arnos Vale Cemetery

“Of course I was under the spell, and the wonderful part is that, even at the time, I perfectly knew I was.”
Henry James, The Turn of the Screw

My, my, my… what a scene at Bly, and what a perfect setting for the gothic horror production by the Red Rope Theatre company, at the eerie Arnos Vale Cemetery.

As I followed the audience to the main door of the graveyard chapel, I felt bewitched by the rows of gravestones that stood tall, their shadows reaching out to the withering trees, all in silence to my left and right, all around me, and suddenly, I felt caged in with the rest of the audience.

When I entered the chapel, the grand, mystical music left me excited to be spooked by the incredible cast of just three actors. Rebecca Robson, who played the haunted Governess was as delicate as the skeleton leaves that floated in the graveyard. Her voice was soft and soothing to listen to as she started off her tale of her new home. In contrast, Lois Baldry, who played the servant Mrs. Grose, had a remarkable ‘commoners’ voice. Baldry was also disguised as the dreadful ghost of Miss Jessel, and made a frightening appearance in a long black cloak, scaring the audience half to death.

I thought that Zachary Powell’s role of the child ghost, Miles was truly remarkable as he puppeteered a wooden ‘boy’ with no face. It was a great idea to use the puppet and a victorian nightgown, moved around by Baldry as the phantom children of the night. The use of shadow play was intriguing and minimalistic, like the set and the cast, which only added to this production’s success. But, the real turning point in my head that will never be forgotten, was Powell and Baldry’s stern, terrifying expressions as their hands closed around the sleeping Governess. This production is beyond every gothic horror creeping into 2017, nothing at all that I know, touches it.

 

**** 1/2 – 4.5 Stars

 

Verity Annear