Haunting tale has excellent performances and a terrifying end
THIS subtle psychological horror, directed by Nigel Howells, is based on the novel by Shirley Jackson.
Despite dire warnings about its evil reputation, four visitors, including Eleanor (played by Helen Gould) and Theodora (Liz Loly), conduct an experiment to investigate the supposedly supernatural occurrences in the remote mansion.
But nothing can prepare them for what lurks in Hill House, because the house is alive, with a will and desires of its own. And what it desires most is Eleanor…
The play hangs around excellent and professional performances by the four lead players.
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Helen Gould perfectly captured the fragile, tortured and sensitive soul of Eleanor, as she is gradually sucked into Hill House's powerful and evil atmosphere.
Dr Montague (Adele Reynolds) has invited people with experiences of the supernatural. But only Eleanor, Theodora and Luke (David Hants), the future owner of the house, actually turn up. The four become friends and endure the ghostly tortures of the unhappy mansion in the name of science.
Director Nigel Howells admits in the programme notes that he stepped into the breech late in the day, and there were moments when this Toads performance could have done with a few weeks' more polish.
Still, its leading foursome were accomplished and brought the whole to a terrifying finale.