PREPARE to have your spine tingled and your funny bone tickled in Philip Meeks’ high-spirited three hander, inspired by the ghoulish ghost stories of E (Edith) Nesbit, the writer better known for delighting generations of “healthy, happy” youngsters with lighthearted fare such as The Railway Children and Five Children and It.
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MOMENTUM, ST STEPHEN’S
Off the page, Nesbit’s private life was blighted by unhappiness and loss. Her only son died during an operation, and her husband took mistresses, even inserting one - and several of his illegitimate children - into their household.
In this abridged version of a longer play, we get to see two of Nesbit’s stories acted out, with the cast (Blue Merrick, Scott Ellis and Rebecca Mahon) playing multiple roles with élan and finesse.
The staging is marvellous and the life-like mix of dread and hilarity nicely balanced, with a nice payoff at the end.
As he did in Murder, Marple, and Me, Meek shows tremendous empathy for the tribulations of the real woman behind the popular books.
His Edith is playful and pragmatic, haunted by the question: what do we do with the darkness in our souls?
Her solution was to exorcise it via these macabre stories.
Until 30 August