Skip to content

FringeGuru

 
The Turn of the Screw
Published on Thursday, 16 August 2012
4

4 stars

Zoo Southside (venue website)
Theatre
3-12, 14-27 Aug, 12:45pm-1:35pm
Reviewed by Mathilda Gregory

 Parents or guardians should consider the content of this show if children are attending.

HookHitch Theatre have put together a wonderful version of the famously chilling Henry James tale. The masterstroke in this adaptation is that the story’s sinister children are portrayed by puppets. This makes the subtext explicit in a very effective way; as the children act strangely, the hints that they are in fact possessed by dead servants Peter Quint and Miss Jessel feel stronger than ever. And the effect is cemented by the actors playing the ghostly Quint and Jessel, who also provide the voices for the puppet children.

The Turn of the Screw has many possible interpretations. Ghostly possession is just one; another is that the children are disturbed because of sexual abuse, yet another is that the governess is going crazy – imagining things due to her own loneliness and sexual repression. The neat thing here is that, although the puppets do a lot to suggest one interpretation of events, others still sit as uneasily as ever within the piece, as at times different characters manipulate the children.

The puppets – created by producer/performer Casey Jay Andrews – are gorgeous, their eerie whiteness adding to the Gothic mood. Laura Trundle’s stand-out performance as The Governess deserves special mention, as does the production design and ensemble direction. Extraordinary use is made of simple set items like suitcases and an old wheelchair.

Things get a little muddled towards the end, and some of the more sinister doings of Miles, the little boy who may or may not be possessed by Quint are glossed over rather quickly. At one point, this defuses the tension over the whereabouts of Miles’s sister Flora before it had even really been built. But overall, this a wholly satisfying and thoughtful adaptation of one of the greatest ghost stories ever written.

<< The Bloody Chamber   Wuthering Heights >>

FROM OUR ARCHIVES

These are archived reviews of shows from Edinburgh 2012.  We keep our archives online as a courtesy to performers, and for readers who'd like to research previous years' reviews.

Edinburgh 2012 Five Stars

5 stars Comedy
Totally Tom


5 stars Comedy
The Magical Adventures of Pete Heat


5 stars Theatre
Bye Bye World


5 stars Comedy
Barbershopera: The Three Musketeers


5 stars Comedy
Truth


5 stars Theatre
The House of Shadows


5 stars Cabaret
Briefs


5 stars Theatre
Made for Each Other - Free


5 stars Comedy
Tony Law: Nonsense Overdrive


5 stars Comedy
Ivo Graham and Liam Williams


5 stars Comedy
Hannibal Buress: Still Saying Stuff


5 stars Comedy
The Blanks' Big Break


5 stars Theatre
A Clockwork Orange


5 stars Comedy
Richard Wiseman: Psychobabble


5 stars Comedy
Martin Mor: A Man You Donít Meet Everyday


5 stars Theatre
1984


5 stars Comedy
Swedenborg, the Devil and Me


5 stars Theatre
The Trench


5 stars Theatre
Casablanca: The Gin Joint Cut


5 stars Theatre
Joyced!


5 stars Theatre
An Evening With Dementia


5 stars Comedy
Scott Agnew: Tales of the Sauna


5 stars Theatre
Comedian Dies in the Middle of Joke


5 stars Comedy
Chris Ramsey: Feeling Lucky


5 stars Comedy
The Horne Section - Live at the Grand!


5 stars Theatre
How to Disappear Completely and Never Be Found


5 stars Theatre
The Life and Sort of Death of Eric Argyle


5 stars Theatre
Songs of Lear


5 stars Cabaret
Jonny Woo: Wonder Woo-Man


5 stars Comedy
Josie Long: Romance and Adventure


5 stars Comedy
10 Films With My Dad


5 stars Theatre
4.48 Psychosis


5 stars Theatre
As You Like It


5 stars Theatre
Appointment With The Wicker Man


5 stars Comedy
Jessie Cave: Bookworm


5 stars Comedy
Morgan & West: Lying, Cheating Scoundrels


5 stars Theatre
Hearts on Fire


5 stars Theatre
Rainbow


5 stars Comedy
Chris Dangerfield: Sex Tourist


5 stars Comedy
Chris McCausland: Not Blind Enough


5 stars Theatre
Chatroom


5 stars Comedy
Peacock & Gamble Don't Even Want To Be On Telly Anyway


5 stars Theatre
I Heart Hamas: And Other Things I'm Afraid to Tell You


5 stars Comedy
John Robertson - The Dark Room - Free


5 stars Kids'
Dr Brown Brown Brown Brown Brown and His Singing Tiger