Review: The Haunting at Cambridge Arts Theatre
A TATTERED bride with a terrible scream puts this play in the Hitchcock league of horror... Review by ANGELA SINGER.
A TATTERED bride with a terrible scream puts this play in the Hitchcock league of horror. “The Haunting” also applied to what it did to the first night audience in Cambridge.
Even though you know the screams are coming, they are sudden and dreadful enough to make you jump out of your skin...
Not for those of a nervous disposition, Dickens’s story, first published in 1848, makes an edge-of-seat piece of theatre – or should I say arm-of-seat because we were clutching them. You knew the decayed bride would appear again but you didn’t know quite when.
Young bookseller, David Filde has gone to a decaying mansion, isolated on the misty moors, to value the books of the late Lord Gray. Filde, played adroitly by Charlie Clements, hears and sees blood-chilling phenomena but at first cannot convince his host, the new Lord Gray, played by Paul Nicholas, who inconsiderately seems to want to lock Filde in the room with the ghost. Then, as the manifestations become undeniable to both of them, the believer and the sceptic between them create an atmosphere of terror. This is made electrifying by Emily Altneu as Mary the ghost.
It could so easily have descended into pure Victorian melodrama. It never did. This gripping production never lost its grasp.
The ingenious, creepy old house set by Simon Scullion - which had a clattering life of its own - pushed us into a horrifying place from the start and the original, spine-chilling music by Laura Tisdall kept us there.
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A great piece of theatre, drama in its finest form.