Edinburgh Fringe 2014
A young lady seeks a lecture, the lecturer bumps into her and from there springs a story of searching and solving a mysterious stranger that binds them both whilst trying to avoid the inevitable. If it is to be avoided you need to be on the edge of your seat.
Two actors enter with suitcases. From out of those suitcases come the costumes of Rebecca Harrington and the Professor. The Professor is a debunker of the supernatural whilst we think Rebecca is only an interested spectator. Once unusual things start happening to the Professor we are drawn into the intrigue and mystery of a story that includes the eerie figure of Mr Carswell. Links between a tragedy of the past and what may befall the Professor draw him further towards Rebecca. Rebecca is the one who, whilst they are on a train works out how to elude the phantom and does so to have then all the heartache brought by Carswell.
This is a very well written piece of horror. It keeps you on the edge of your seat and it also keeps you wrapped in the world created and inhabited by these characters. What worked best here was that the information conveyed came mostly from conversations rather than out of the books and folders that the Professor felt compelled to consulted in order to seek a solution. In particular the reluctant librarian seemed a font of knowledge. The Professor drew information from others too and it was this exchange of little pieces of information that kept the mystery intact.
The set and costumes have a cartoon/cardboard element that works exceptionally well. The costumes continue the written motif in their edges and accessories. The inclusion of the rhythm of the song means we are always close to the disaster suggested. Both performers have clearly worked hard on their different and differing relationships between all the characters. This symbiotic performance therefore is working exceptionally well.
The staging and design elements were, for me, absolutely in keeping with the dark yesteryear approach. It added to the mystery and made it all work well. The combined theatre arts added the sense of mystery and it may not have had me jumping out of fright but it certainly had me sitting at the edge of my seat.
I truly enjoyed my hour in the runes and would thoroughly recommend it. Horror within a theatre can be a difficult task without ending up getting the fake blood out but this company manage to manipulate you just enough to make it real.