Stars explained: * A production of no real merit with failings in all areas. ** A production showing evidence of not enough time or effort, or even talent, and which never breathes any real life into the piece – or a show lumbered with a terrible script. *** A good enjoyable show which might have some small flaws but has largely achieved what it set out to do.**** An excellent show which shows a great deal of work and stage craft with no noticeable or major flaws.***** A four star show which has found that extra bit of magic which lifts theatre to another plane.
Half stars fall between the ratings

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Chime Hours

Hall Green Little Theatre


Hall Green Little Theatre venture into the bold unknown and often risky world of staging new original works with Chime Hours, the first play by Jessica Brown.

Having recently completed her BA in English and Creative writing at Plymouth University she is now pursuing a masters degree in film and television. Chime Hours is her first stage play and fuses ghost stories, fantasy and folklore into a gothic tale of a family and their personal search to find a missing sister.

This is no ordinary family; Bonnie the mother, Nia the daughter and friend Merritt all possess an ability to channel ghostly spirits in a servient manner, where they are able to get them to perform tasks on their behalf. These spirits are called Raggedy, an all-knowing entity that seeks out the truth for them about a missing girl using the inanimate toys of any given household they enter as their witnesses.

There are a lot of interconnecting themes of loss, grief and good old things that go bump in the night threaded through a supernatural narrative that is both chilling and at times intense.

Emily Smith and Katie Driver played the combined force of Raggedy. Dressed as doll-like knaves they both interact and narrate the story dancing about playfully as the unseen eyes of their masters entering homes and places and remotely reporting their findings.

Nancy Houston played Nia, the young daughter who we find has sold her soul to a dark evil force and unbeknown to her family and friends, has agreed to do its bidding in return for  prolonged youth. She with help of friend Merritt played by Charlotte Crowe, use their powers as both are desperate to find Nia’s sister Adette ,played by Poppy Houston, but time is running out for  them.

Bonnie is the mother played by Jess Donnelly waiting for news of her missing daughter. While herself possessing a power to see with ghosts, she is tiring of life and her grief is getting the better of her.

Finally there is Blake played by Luke Ellinor, the troubled boy whose fascination with the supernatural and the occult has conjured real demons within him and his obsession leads to his eventual downfall.

The production was directed by Daniel Beaton and although some of the more connective tissue of the story was at times lost, there is a conjuring of a real sense of evil and dark forces present.

Considering this is a youth theatre production, a first play and an original one at that, there is considerable depth and professionalism both in the writing and the individual performances of the cast.

Chime Hours is a dark brooding tale of demons and scary toys and a very credible first work for Jessica Brown. Full marks must be given to HGLT and the efforts of the entire company for investing time, money and support in the making of some very original theatre. To 10-03-18

Jeff Grant


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