Home Lifestyle Dining When Darkness Falls REVIEW: An effectively spooky supernatural play

When Darkness Falls REVIEW: An effectively spooky supernatural play


In a cluttered office in Guernsey, John Blondel (Will Barton) is attempting to record his weekly Vlog about local history and folklore and is awaiting his guest, a young man who has made a study of paranormal phenomena. In other words, a ghost hunter.

When The Speaker (Alex Phelps) arrives, soaked from the rain, his pale gaunt figure and slightly unnatural diction suggests he is more — or less — than he seems.

After trading spiky banter with the sceptical Blondel he tells five ghost stories that unsettle and unnerve his inquisitor.

The simple device is the traditional trope of ghost stories from MR James onwards and it is very much in the manner of these that the play is conducted.

The effects – lightning, fritzing lights, sudden appearances in torchlight, books falling from shelves of their own volition and blackouts are well worn but handled with a degree of delicacy and timing that is spookily effective.

The atmosphere is well maintained and there is a steadily accumulating sense of unease.

Given that the number of supernatural plays since Shakespeare and the Jacobeans are few and far between — The Ghost Train, Blithe Spirit, Ghost Story, Darker Shores and The Woman in Black — it is a welcome addition to a genre that is as insubstantial as ectoplasm. 

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