Curse of Cranholme Abbey

Tim Norton

Young Pleasance

Pleasance Courtyard

From 04 August 2017 to 19 August 2017

Rating: *****

Review by Robin Strapp

Each year, Young Pleasance brings a new young company to the Fringe who dazzle with their professionalism, enthusiasm and commitment to their performance.

This year is no exception with a simply outstanding production of The Curse of Cranholme Abbey which is an absolute triumph.

It’s a gothic thriller, beautifully written by Tim Norton, that’s going to send a shiver down your spine as the secrets of the Abbey are chillingly revealed over three different time periods: 1872, 1942 and 2013.

It is impeccably directed as the highly talented cast seamlessly morph between the years and the crumbling set creates the atmosphere of decay.

Charlie Cranholme, the 13th Viscount, has inherited this spooky, forbidding place and, together with his friends, visits to explore the house but they have run out of petrol so will need to spend the night in the Abbey.

There is no electricity so they go exploring for candles or lamps and discover more about the people who had lived in this apparently haunted house with ghosts from the past.

The walls appear to sense their presence as they whisper, and what are the distant screams echoing from the east wing, and who is the mysterious boy who constantly appears? To reveal more would be a complete spoiler but the dramatic ending is thrilling.

Magically, we are transformed to the Victorian era where the strict housekeeper rules with an iron fist and the 8th Viscount prepares for his marriage in the hope of having an heir to carry on the lineage.

Meanwhile in the war years, Wing Commander Charles Cranholme is celebrating his engagement with a party and the American GI’s are invited as they all enthusiastically dance to Glen Miller’s “In The Mood,” with slick choreography by Jo Billington.

All of the characters are superbly realised and it is obvious that this company has total ownership of the production. They have captured the nuances of each period from voices to movement with panache and many superlative individual performances.

The attention to detail is impressive from the excellent ensemble work as set and characters move between periods to the splendid costumes and props. Oscar Maguire’s atmospheric sound design made me jump on several occasions.

This is one production that should be on the top of your hit list. I highly recommend it. GO!