Count Magnus: Two Ghost Stories by M. R. James
Cramphorn Theatre, Chelmsford
Saturday 3rd November 2012
As the lights go down in the auditorium, as far down as they can, the first action we see is the lighting of the few on stage candles that are to be the only light throughout the show - and so the atmosphere is set for a chilling evening of ghostly storytelling.
Fighting at first against the barrage of sound of a local firework display, our host made himself the centre of everyone's attention immediately with his engaging style. With only a few items of stage furniture to assist with the atmosphere - no sound effects, lighting changes or additional props - this was a show entirely reliant upon the delivery of the central narrator and upon the story he was telling.
The utter silence in the auditorium for remarkably long periods - not even an obligatory cougher, as seems the norm during most productions - displays just how far Robert Lloyd Parry had succeeded in absorbing the almost full Cramphorn audience into his tales. Two old-fashioned ghost stories, one either side of the interval, made for an evening that felt both spooky but also warmly familiar.
An unusual evening at the theatre, perfectly situated in the intimate space at the Cramphorn. Highly recommended.