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Review: Queen's Theatre's adaptation of Haunting Julia is both moving and memorable

PUBLISHED: 15:00 07 November 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

When I think of a ghost story, I picture myself scared and jumping out of my skin as someone creeps up behind me out of nowhere.

But the chilling production of Haunting Julia at Queen’s Theatre, Billet Lane, Hornchurch, is both spooky and moving.

The adaptation of the classic 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 in a dingy attic.

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

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 deceased daughter.

Mr Cox’s character Joe is strong but still troubled more than a decade after his daughter’s death.

Sam makes the audience feel his ongoing pain and hugely sympathise with the fact his character cannot move on while the frustration and disbelief radiating from Andy - played by Matthew - can be felt throughout the Hornchurch venue.

His touching performance as he describes the moment he found Julia dead to her dad is very emotional and one of the most captivating scenes in the play.

Although not as emotional as the other actors, Clive’s character Ken bring some much needed light-hearted relief to Haunting Julia which makes for a great contrast to the rest of the play.

Haunting Julia is a thought-provoking production that showcases how people cope with grief differently.

Despite there not being as many scary or jumpy moments in the play as I originally anticipated, the production is touching and memorable to say the least.

Haunting Julia is being performed at the Queen’s Theatre until Saturday, November 17.

Ticket prices start at £19.

For more information about the show, visit queens-theatre.co.uk

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