Spooky goings on
The Turn of the Screw
Reviewed by Martin Borley.
Will this classic ghost story chill your spine? We review the touring production showing at Northampton's Royal Theatre.
Henry James's story has been chilling spines for more than a century. It inspired Nicole Kidman's movie The Others. This theatre adaptation comes from the touring company Theatreworks.
Is he real or imagined?
Did the hairs stand up on the back of my neck? Unfortunately not. The adaptor and director Ali Gorton tried hard to frighten us. But I'm afraid her attempts at ghostly goings on were weak and predictable.
The plot revolves around a Victorian governess who's been put in charge of two children in a big house. She starts to see and hear strange figures. Are they real or is she hallucinating?
'Just not scary'
The best ghost stories play on your imagination. This version of The Turn of the Screw didn't seem to realise that. A woman in black playing a violin with a white face is just not scary. Nor is a man with a white-painted face grimacing at a window.
Another problem is that the two children, central to the story, are played by grown-ups. I can understand the huge challenge of casting real children, but the two twenty-somethings who played Miles and Flora in this production were mere caricatures.
The recent home-produced version of Frankenstein at the Royal showed that theatre can be scary. I'm just disappointed that The Turn of the Screw - described as one of the greatest ghost stories ever told - failed to spook.
last updated: 08/05/2008 at 09:16
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