In this day and age of CGI and special effects, you’d think producing a jump-inducing spine chiller on the stage would be a near on impossible task.
But think again. And prepare to be gripped, thrilled and spooked in equal measure with this superb production of the Susan Hill book which runs at Doncaster’s Cast theatre until Saturday.
Presented by the Oldham Coliseum Theatre, the audience was transported back through time to visit a dark, claustrophobic world combining all the classic elements of a traditional ghost story.
Things that go bump in the night, an over enthusiastic central character determined to get to the bottom of a decades old mystery despite the warnings of locals and of course, lots of twists, turns and genuinely nerve-jangling moments.
The story tells the tale of James Monmouth, a seasoned traveller back in England after years of globetrotting and trying to piece together the life of a mysterious figure called Conrad Vane.
Needless to say, his digging unleashes as sequence of events and some disturbing details that might have been better left undiscovered...
Paul Warriner was wonderful as Monmouth, producing a masterclass in suspense and superb timing. He commanded a very sparse stage, deliberately low-lit and dark to add to the tension and cloying atmosphere needed in any good ghost tale.
Able support came from Jack Lord, perched above the stage as the reader, helping to pace the story and adding some relief to the swathes of blackness.
Martin Reeve deserves special mention, taking on a variety of roles while female support came from Caroline Harding and Sarah Eve who both played their parts brilliantly in a truly compelling tale.
One of the real winners on the night were the special effects themselves. Stunning visuals, crisp sound effects and suitably jarring music all piled onto the spine-chilling atmosphere.
If you want to witness a truly memorable piece of theatre this year, then make it this one.
And prepare to be scared...