Chilling supernatural tale to spook Hornchurch audiences this Halloween
PUBLISHED: 15:00 10 October 2015
In the opulent surroundings of Venice, terrifying supernatural forces derail a grieving husband and wife’s efforts to recover from the tragic loss of their young daughter.
In Queen’s Theatre’s adaption of 1971 horror classic Don’t Look Now, written by Daphne du Maurier, eerie premonitions from two elderly clairvoyant sisters hinder John and Laura Baxter’s attempts to rekindle their relationship as their world is plunged into madness.
The sisters urge the couple to England, and normality, but the forces controlling their life have already made other plans.
Readers may know the story from the 1973 film starring Julie Christie and Donald Sutherland, which immediately became controversial for its, at-the-time, shocking sex scene.
In Queen’s adaption, associate director Simon Jessop is determined to stay true to the story – including the nudity.
“When beginning any new project, my mantra is don’t patronise the audience,” he said.
“I don’t think that just because we’re in Hornchurch, audiences don’t want to see anything.
“There will be nudity and sexual content because the actors want to show the story in the best way possible.”
In the play, John is forced to admit his unstable mental state after he becomes convinced that he repeatedly spots his daughter Christine across the city, as fears emerge that a murderer is on the loose.
Simon intends to impress the supernatural element of the play with some sleight of hand and cinematic techniques.
“The play is a great canvas for a story teller to tell the tale,” he said.
“We’ve worked very hard as a team to create a visually rich story that mixes cinema sound with a theatre experience.”
The cast of eight includes Queen’s newcomers Karen Anderson and Charlotte Powell.
Karen, who has appeared in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows and Maleficent as a goblin and a dwarf, will appear as iconic mysterious cloaked figure, while Charlotte plays main character Laura Baxter.
Gilian Cally and Tina Gray, stars of the recent Steel Magnolias, are the psychic sisters. They play also features company regulars Callum Hughes and Sam Pay.
Tom Cornish and Stuart Organ – from the theatre’s recent production of The Elephant Man – play John Baxter and the police chief.
The audience will be confronted by a confusing visual spectacle, as the cast stand on stage while film projections of them appear on the sides of the theatre.
“The intention is to create the impression that the audience are accompanying the couple on their terrifying journey,” said Simon.
“Nothing is laid out for the audience – you have to go on a journey.
“It certainly plays on the psychological by adding new energy to the tale. The cinematic style is very naturalistic.”
The multimedia experience is accompanied by live musical performances from the cast, directed by Steven Markwick.
Set and costume design is by Norman Coates and lighting design is by Mark Dymock.
Tickets for the play, running from October 23 to November 14, cost up to £27, with concessions available.
For more information, call 01708 443333 or book online at queens-theatre.co.uk