Review: The Mist in the Mirror, Theatre Royal, Bury St Edmunds, until Saturday

Paul Warriner who takes the part of James Monmouth, in The Mist in the Mirror, at the Theatre Royal,

Paul Warriner who takes the part of James Monmouth, in The Mist in the Mirror, at the Theatre Royal, in Bury St Edmunds. - Credit: Archant

Mystery, shock and intrigue at Theatre Royal

There’s a tongue-in-cheek health warning, especially for those with a nervous disposition, with this fabulous and utterly compelling play, from the pen of convincing ghost writer Susan Hill.

There must have been many in the audience who felt the spine-chilling effects from the dramatically haunting images and sound effects that were punctuated throughout the performance, and which become more effective in the intimate surroundings of the Theatre Royal.

Paul Warriner, as the adventurous James Monmouth, is brilliant and is compelling in his quest to follow in the footsteps of his fellow adventuror Conrad Vane. But what he finds becomes disturbing and despite heartfelt warnings his determination in his quest never wanes.

The production by Oldham Coliseum Theatre and Imitating The Dog theatre company, which has been touring the country and has come to Bury hard on the heels of performances at the New Wolsey Theatre, in Ipswich, has bags of gothic atmosphere and makes the most of some dazzling projected scenery.

Monmouth becomes obsessed with his gallant explorer and returns to England after being brought up by a guardian in Africa to find out more of this enigmatic man and write his biography following his travels round the world.

However, on his arrival in England, he is haunted by the figure of a small boy and his every inquiry about Vane is met with those daunting warnings. There’s a continuing and uncomfortable feeling of disaster that is about to unfold and the final outcome is staggering.

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The Mist in the Mirror continues at the Theatre Royal, tonight, tomorrow and two performances on Saturday tomorrow.

Russell Cook

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