Turn of the Screw (3 stars)

This article is from 2012

Turn of the Screw

Assured, but concertinaed adaptation of Henry James’ thriller, with children played by sinister hand-carved puppets

Henry James’ slow-burning thriller, Turn of the Screw, demands an exceptionally sophisticated approach. It’s a sign of HookHitch Theatre’s determined ambition that they’re willing to tackle this piece at the Festival, where fast and furious often comes out on top.

The two haunted children are played by hand-carved puppets, with beady eyes and tight mouths. They seem fragile yet sinister too. These puppets are controlled by the very ghosts that haunt James’ spooky country house. It’s a smart twist that expresses the absolute power these spectres now possess.

This is an ensemble-directed piece and the company manipulates the space well. With a few thoughtful touches, HookHitch Theatre transform a limited venue into a fluid and surprising space.

It’s all very smart but just a tad rushed. Benjamin Henson’s adaptation is assured but concertinaed. The acting also feels constrained. With only an hour available to build towards such extreme emotions, the performances veer towards melodrama. With just a little more time and patience, this Screw could dig very deep indeed.

Zoo Southside, 662 6892, until 27 Aug, 12.45pm, £7 (£6).

Turn of the Screw

  • 3 stars

How can you protect those in your care, if you can't tell what’s real? Award-winning writer Benjamin Henson’s adaptation delves into this macabre classic with live music and puppetry as the haunting events unfold. All ages. HookHitch Theatre.

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