Turn of the Screw, based upon the Henry James novella of the same name, follows Flora and the Governess as the attempt to piece together the strange happenings in the house throughout Flora's troubled childhood and who may be to blame. With flashbacks and multi-roling, the play moves at such a speed that keeping up has you on edge throughout and at no point is it really possible to be 100% sure what is going on, but the utter suspense created by this is worth the slight confusion.
All description of this show I could find prior to seeing it was promising of fantastic design elements and it well and truly did not disappoint. Despite what seemed like a very dragged out and slow start, the distorted set paired with the absolutely outstanding use of lighting to give pace and depth to the play was truly incredible and not to be missed.
One particularly notable aspect of this show was that although it was set in the 1840s, it wasn't like many other shows set that far back and (thank goodness for this, in my humble and certainly far from determining opinion) the language and production on the whole wasn't completely obsolete. It was still relatively simple but in the most effective way possible, appealing consequently to a far wider variety of audiences. Contrasting the date of the story with modern and interesting technology to move the story along was what I would call a bold choice but certainly a worthy one because it worked really well!
The storyline and production on the whole just seemed to take a lot of getting used to. The multi-roling seemed really peculiar from time to time, particularly when Elliot Burton and Amy Dunn went from siblings to what I believe was two involved in an intimate relationship within the space of a scene involving minimal dialogue. At other points, however, the usage of multi-roling WAS effective and exciting, such as Amy Dunn (Mrs Conray) quickly moving between ages.
At points, the snappy lighting and dramatic sound effects felt almost out of place and eventually became somewhat tiring. It seemed to stop having the effect it had initially and despite it being labelled as a "scary" play, it seemed stuck at mysterious and eery - perhaps even a little too mysterious as both myself and a fair few other audience members felt a lot of the storyline was dependent on using our imagination to fill in the gaps which can be a really good strategy, but there's can always be too much of a good thing.
All in all, the show was certainly enjoyable - don't get me wrong, there were choices that were confusing and possibly not as effective as desired, but the actual story and all around way it was told was something completely different to anything I've seen in quite a long time.
For tickets and information: www.turnofthescrewplay.com
Review: Grace Bourke