Published: 17 January, 2013
by AMY SMITH
• THE tagline to the new show at the Rosemary Branch Theatre rather deliciously reads “contains moments of pleasing terror”. Robert Lloyd Parry will be performing two ghost stories by MR James to celebrate the writer’s 150th birthday. James originally performed his scary tales to students in his rooms at King’s College, where he was provost, on Christmas Eve. Parry will be recreating that intimate “air of the fireside” setting in the theatre.
“The Rosemary Branch Theatre is absolutely perfect in its size and shape,” said Parry. “I like to – in my mind, at any rate – cast the audience as members of James’s close-knit circle of friends. The dim lighting, the shadows and silences that I try to make use of are all aimed at creating a feeling of companionable unease.”
The two one-man shows will race through a diabolical chase in rural Essex, plumb the depths of an ancient curse and delve into just how unlucky the number 13 can be. A century before the TV series The Killing pushed Scandinavian crime into the fore, James was intrigued by Swedish and Danish folklore and superstition and two of the stories included in the shows are set in those countries.
Storytelling has enjoyed a resurgence in popularity recently but Parry believes that it has always been a valuable art form.
“Today we still all tell each other stories all the time, in pubs, on long car journeys,” he explains.
“Parents tell their children the stories they heard as children. I don’t think it’s a resurgence so much as an acknowledgement, a realisation that among all the hi-tech entertainment available to us today, the spoken word still has a pre-eminence.”
Count Magnus and A Warning to the Curious run from January 18-20.
For tickets call 020 7704 6665
• Finally, a big happy 45th birthday to Pentameters Theatre, Hampstead. To celebrate, the theatre is hosting an evening of poetry and music with Pete Brown, Libby Houston and Butterfly Wheels on January 20. For tickets call 02074353648.