The Turn of the Screw

RICHARD BATSON Ghostly figures, Victorian values and maddening children revolve around the house and head of a young governess in this classic chiller.

RICHARD BATSON

Ghostly figures, Victorian values and maddening children revolve around the house and head of a young governess in this classic chiller.

The play adaptation of Henry James' novel teases the audience with Tales of the Unexpected-style spookiness, combined with hints of sexual tensions simmering away beneath stiff corsets and starched collars.

At the hub of this Sheringham Players production is Kirsty O'Leary-Leeson, who plumbs the ranges of emotions felt by new governess Miss Grey – from wide-eyed excitement about her new post to neurotic babbling and questioning her own sanity as odd events unfold around her.

Can only she see the spectral figures of her dead predecessor and a valet? Are they after the children? Why do the youngsters avoid talking about them? The two children, Maddie Howell and Eddie Townsend, tackle their demanding parts with confidence and show promise.

The ghosts of Quint and Miss Jessel have no lines, but husband and wife Derek and Val Bull's silent and ashen-faced appearances provide some of the most spine tingling moments.

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Peter Thrower sets the scene with a cameo as the orphaned children's uncle, while the housekeeper is neatly portrayed by Libby Henshaw.

The prompt was a little too prominent on opening night at the Little Theatre, but overall this was atmospheric and thought-provoking.

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