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Spooky but moving story of Haunting Julia to be performed at Queen’s Theatre

PUBLISHED: 15:07 30 October 2018

Clive Llewellyn, Sam Cox and Matthew Spencer in Haunting Julia. Picture: Mark Sepple

Clive Llewellyn, Sam Cox and Matthew Spencer in Haunting Julia. Picture: Mark Sepple

Mark Sepple

Not looking forward to saying goodbye to Halloween?

Matthew Spencer, Sam Cox and Clive Llewellyn in Haunting Julia. Picture: Mark SeppleMatthew Spencer, Sam Cox and Clive Llewellyn in Haunting Julia. Picture: Mark Sepple

Well you’re just in luck as a production of Haunting Julia has made its way to Queen’s Theatre, Billet Lane, Hornchurch, to keep the spooky spirit alive and give you a story about grief, ribboned with some spooky and frightful moments that are bound to make you jump.

Actor Matthew Spencer, who stars in the play as Andy, said: “It [Queen’s Theatre] is a wonderful theatre to work at and has been named as the most welcoming theatre for the third year.

“It really is a lovely place to come back to so couldn’t wait to do another show here.”

Haunting Julia, a 90s play written by Alan Ayckbourn, tells the story of Julia Lukin, a 19-year-old musical prodigy – nicknamed ‘Little Miss Mozart’ - who started composing symphonies at eight.

But everything stopped as her body was found mysteriously in a dingy attic.

Twelve years on and her father Joe - actor Sam Cox - has never come to terms with her death but is hoping to get more answers from psychic Ken Chase, played by Clive Llewellyn, and Julia’s boyfriend, now in his 30s, played by Matthew.

The entire play takes place in the Julia Lukin Music Centre, an uneasy mixture between a public music facility and a shrine from Joe to his daughter.

The room was Julia’s as a student but now with a walkway installed for public viewing.

Olivier and Tony Award winning playwright Mr Ayckbourn has written more than 80 plays which have been produced in London’s West End and New York, as well as around the world.

His inspiration for Haunting Julia came from the thrilling stage adaptation of The Woman in Black, written by Susan Hill, adapted for the stage by Stephen Mallatratt. The original production of Haunting Julia was performed at the Stephen Joseph Theatre and had its first performance on 12 April 1994, with a London premiere on 27 May 2011.

Matthew said: “I love a ghost story and I think the love of those creepy, spooky stories as well as the gripping story itself made me eager to get involved.

“Saying that though, the story has got a lot of heart is really moving.

“I did Woman in Black last year and since that was the show that inspired him [Alan Ayckbourn] to write Haunting Julia, it felt like I was meant to do it.”

The production sees Matthew, a 34-year-old father-of-two, return to the Hornchurch stage following his performance of The Invisible Man at the theatre last year.

His other credits include 1984, War Horse, Romeo and Juliet, Macbeth and Hamlet.

He finished his training at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama back in 2005.

Matthew said: “Not only is it a ghost story with moments that will make you jump, it’s a touching play about grief and how people deal with losing someone close to them.

“Andy [Matthew’s character] isn’t one of life’s winners let’s just say so to play him is a lot of fun.

“It’s a fantastic play from Alan Ayckbourn and I’m really looking forward to coming back to Queen’s Theatre to tell the story.”

Haunting Julia will run at the Queen’s Theatre from Thursday, November 1, to Saturday, November 17.

A sign language interpreted performance of Haunting Julia will take place on Wednesday, November 14, at 7.30pm and audio description is available via a headset at all performances from Nov 5.

For more information about the show, call 01708 443333 or visit queens-theatre.co.uk

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