"the gross and scope of my opinion ..." Hamlet I,1.
Saturday, November 10, 2012
Productions at the Cramphorn Theatre
mark MR James's 150th anniversary, Robert Lloyd Parry
can't resist adding a coda to his Ghost Story Trilogy – two more
tales from the master of the genre, both set in Northern Europe, and
both from the earliest collection, first published in 1904.
the Cramphorn darkness, four candles gutter, their flames reflected
in glassware and spectacles. This is the only light for this
atmospheric one-man show; Mr Lloyd Parry, the embodiment of the
Provost of King's in his gloomy study, the only actor. Those ghostly
figures behind him just overcoats on a hat-stand.
13, set in Viborg, is an intriguing tale of an inn; the landlord and
the lawyer next door both skilfully brought to life.
Magnus [a real historical figure, apparently] in the second story is
the sadistic, satanic Swedish Count whose remains are unwisely
disturbed by the over-curious Mr Wraxall, a travel writer who is
pursued to deepest Essex by the spectre of Magnus and his diabolical
companion, to meet his demise at Belchamp St Paul.
Dies Irae crashes in, the houselights come up, and we can breathe
again. Though a niggling memory of the dancing devil and the hooded
fiend will stay with us long after Lloyd Parry has moved on to Bath,
Buxton and Hemingford Grey …