The Haunting brings a selection of Charles Dickens ghost stories, adapted by Hugh Janes, to life in a two-hander play, which has plenty of tension and scary moments galore.
Set in an old run down mansion, miles from anywhere, the story revolves around David Filde (James Roache best known for Coronation Street) who has been sent to catalogue a collection of books, for the owner Lord Gray (David Robb from Downton Abbey).
At first there is a lot of tension between the men as Lord Gray questions the suitability of Filde for the work required. But when left alone Filde starts to hear voices and supernatural forces take over. At first Lord Gray does not believe him.......
Designer, Simon Scullion, provides us with a setting that exactly fits the bill, tall doors, french windows, shelves and shelves of books, swirling mist, several surprises and cobwebs aplenty. All this adds to the atmosphere as the tension builds to a provide several scary moments, especially the closing of Act One, with more to come in Act 2.
It is not a long production, with the running time, including the interval of under two hours. But the pace keeps up throughout and the chemistry between the two actors keeps your attention at all times. It is hard to believe they are many weeks in to a very long tour.
The shocks and scary moments are managed in an old fashioned way, in keeping with the piece, but are carried out very well. My eleven-year-old daughter hid behind her hands for quite awhile, watching parts of the show through the gaps in her fingers. But thoroughly enjoyed the show and there were no nightmares.
The howling wind effects were assisted by the coldness in the auditorium, which I assume was not linked to the production. Sadly the audience was thin on the ground, as actors of this quality deserve to play to large audiences.
The Haunting should be seen and if a good old-fashioned play, with plenty of shocks is for you, this is a must see.