The Revival (Scared To Death), Sheringham Little Theatre, Review

The cast is spooked during a scary s�ance.

The cast is spooked during a scary s�ance. - Credit: Archant

In another theatrical win for seaside rep, the Sheringham Little Theatre hosts the world premiere of this new play by James Cawood.

With its usual knack of picking plays with a good mix of spine chilling mystery and comedy for its summer season, the SLT has found a gem in this spooky tale - a thriller, ghost story and comedy which features the summer season's biggest cast yet.

Set in the present and in the theatre in which it is performed, we are drawn into a dysfunctional theatrical family row.

The cast are ready for their final dress rehearsal before opening night of a 1946 ghost play, Scared to Deathl.

We watch intrigued as the actors squabble about the abilities of one cast member who can't even remember her lines, with the director close to a nervous breakdown.

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But it is the ghostly storyline and fear of the curse that bedevils the play. Stories surrounding that curse begin to take on a grim reality and unsettle the company.

This play within a play is an immersive drama where the repertory performers take on roles as actors adding an extra layer of stagecraft to test the players. It is also a test for the audience who are required to adjust their aesthetic distance with relation to the 'fourth wall' - the imagined wall that separates actors from the audience.

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Unfortunately, after a great build-up in act one, the second act begins to unravel and story lines blur with the confusion threatening to lapse into farce.

Perversely, the actor (Lauren Verrier ) playing the actor blamed for ruining the play, the American, Sophie, was probably most on top of her game with the difficult role of having to over-act and mash-up the English language.

Clearly comfortable in his part, however, was Tim Welton as the manic director. And Lynn Whitehead as the veteran diva and psychic medium gave the production some genuine gravity.

Mention must also go to director Gillian King who had to stage a play which had never been performed before. A difficult play to put across, her creativity and effective use of lighting added to a successful premiere.

Patrick Prekopp

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