A funny sort of horror

The Mist in the Mirror

Coventry Belgrade

***

THERE’S a school of thought that the great novels by the Bronte sisters, Wuthering Heights, The Tenant of Wildfell Hall and Jane Eyre, are actually a bit tongue-in-cheek, and, though scared half to death in parts, I was a bit unsure if this piece, also set on the North York moors, might be being played for laughs.

The Mist in the Mirror is definitely scary, from the initial announcement about heart conditions to the arms coming out of the mirror to grab our storyteller, Jack Lord, but there were times when OTT went through my mind. An over-excited audience prone to laughing when either amused or scared didn’t help.

The story will have to remain a mystery since even to start the process gives away the big guns, but I found it confusing that the same actor with very distinctive looks played the warning figure in various guises – Martin Reeve as Dr Valentine Dancer, Sir Lionel Quincebridge and Mr Beamish. Suffice it to say that James Monmouth (Paul Warriner) has been sent as a five-year-old from North Yorkshire to live with a guardian in Africa on the death of his parents and, as he stumbles upon a great explorer Konrad Vane, back in London as an adult he attempts to research Konrad’s life which inevitably leads him back to his roots in Yorkshire.

The set is just plain magic – it’s very 3D and writing appears on it, footsteps in the snow and more. How do they do that? The whole atmosphere of horror is conjured up with fog, plus a dark and dreary lighting set up, bells and footsteps.

There are two women in the cast Sarah Eve as the maid and Caroline Harding as seer Lady Viola Quincebridge but, much like the storyline, there’s not a lot for them to do.

Susan Hill’s horror stories are world famous and The Woman in Black is a classic, as a book, play and film. As this Oldham Coliseum Theatre Production, directed by Ian Kershaw and adapted by Andrew Quick, follows in its wake, we await the film. To 18-04-15

Jane Howard

14-04-15 

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