A/V Room









With each Turn of the Screw you will be glued to your seat!

Review by Emma Whitelaw

HENRY James’ classic tale has never appeared so blood-curdlingly scary as that which appears onstage in Jeffrey Hatcher’s adaptation of Turn of the Screw, currently showing at the New End Theatre.

The simplicity of the production is what, I believe, makes the play so astoundingly eerie. Featuring a mere cast of only two (superbly gifted) actors and a few simple props, such as a rocking chair and some candles, the ghostly tale takes on a uniquely chilling form.

The tale in itself is quite terrifying, yet the storytelling talent of both Linda Slade and Eric Davis makes it all the more horrifying.

It is the story of a young governess, played by Slade, who embarks upon a new life at the stately home, Bly Manor, in Essex. When she arrives, she is greeted by a beautiful little girl, Flora, and the housekeeper, Mrs Grose, played by Davis.

Quite a lot is left to the audiences' imagination, which I think also has a creepy effect.

Davis plays a multiple of roles throughout the play, yet there is virtually no costume change; the characters simply emerge through his own unique talent and the aid of a simple scarf that denotes his transformation into Mrs Grose.

He also plays Miles, Flora’s older brother. Miles has been sent home from school – dismissed for reasons unknown.

Reasons which the Governess makes it her duty to know. What she doesn’t realise, however, is the ghastly secret she will stumble across the further she delves into Miles’ mysterious behaviour.

Over the following week, the Governess uncovers some ghastly truths.

One night, while taking a stroll in the garden, and imagining how proud her uncle would be of her achievements, she looks up and, in the distance, sees a man in the one of the towers of the house.

The man is a stranger, and stares at her until she turns away. This worries her, but she just assumes that he is a trespasser and will soon disappear.

She soon forgets about the incident until one rainy afternoon, when she is listening to Miles play to her on the piano. Outside the window, she sees the same man staring at her and Miles.

She describes the man - curly red hair, red whiskers, sharp eyes - to Mrs Grose, and the housekeeper says that the man is Peter Quint, the uncle's former valet. Quint is dead.

The successive days are full of many more such horrors; the beautiful young Flora is enticed into the nearby lake by the ghost of her former Governess, Miss Jessel.

The children seem as though they are possessed as they dance in the garden at night, the Governess seems to have no control; that is, until she confronts her demons.

Turn of the Screw is a mysterious tale that is guaranteed to set the pulse racing and capture your imagination.

Turn of the Screw written by Henry James and adapted by Jeffrey Hatcher. Directed by Anna Brennan. Starring Linda Slade and Eric Davies. 13th October to 6th November at the New End Theatre, 27 New End, Hampstead, London NW3 1JD. Box Office 0870 033 2733.

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