When Darkness Falls – Palace Theatre, Southend, Essex

It’s October and soon to be Halloween so let’s have a few spooky posts, suits me because I love all things terrible and macabre (such as horror films, cod liver oil tablets and Eastenders).

So last Saturday I went to the Palace Theatre in Southend to see my fourth ghost play – When Darkness Falls, written by James Milton and Paul Morrissey and starring Peter Duncan and Daniel Rainford.

Previous spooky productions I have seen are –

The Signal-Man adapted by Martin Malcolm (originally by Charles Dickens)

The Woman in Black adapted by Stephen Mallatratt (originally by Susan Hill)

The Turn of the Screw adapted by Tim Luscombe (originally by Henry James’)

One immediate difference is that When Darkness Falls is not based on an old book later adapted for the stage – this is a modern story, recently written and and also rated 15 – which made it even more exciting!

Set in Guernsey, part of the Channel Islands – the entire play is set during one stormy night where a resident historian records his latest podcast guesting a young paranormal researcher who has made the trip to talk about his experiences of the supernatural and also tell four spine-chilling tales of local folklore which include devils, apparitions and death.

The historian is a sceptic of the paranormal – and can even be a little annoying at times with his dad jokes and buffooning interruptions into the researcher’s stories – but by the end of the evening will he be proven wrong? I think yes, perhaps he might…

When Darkness Falls was very enjoyable – it held our interest throughout and had some genuine scary moments. Good dialogue which was well written and at times amusing. The practical effects and sound effects alike were really, really good and successfully contributed to some of the jumpiest parts of the play.

The audience did get on my nerves slightly towards the end with their continuous braying laughter over the poltergeist type action going on on the stage. I mean, yeah I get it – the first time the door slams or something flies off a shelf it does make you giggle a little, mainly through shock and childlike glee, but I felt that laughing at every spooky effect made the audience look like a bunch of ignoramuses to be honest.

The stage, props and lighting were all extremely effective, as was the ‘two man show’ with different parts utilising the actors in different ways. In fact as you can probably tell, I can’t fault anything and it definitely made me want to go and see more plays. I used to attend loads before ‘Lockdown 2020’ and this was the first I’d been to see since 2018.

Sometimes going to the ‘theatre’ to see a ‘play’ (quotation marks to insinuate the posh voice I’m doing in my head) – rather than a stand-up comic, musical or even those dancing six pack blokes who take their clothes off, can seem a bit posh or a bit snooty or a bit clever but it’s really, really none of those things. It’s just watching a story, like the cinema or television. And watching something unfold, live, in front of your eyes and being an actual part of it as well – because being in the audience, you do feel as though you’re sharing something with one another and with the actors too – I think you get even more from it.

And yes – I really do like cod liver oil tablets. And Eastenders.


About emmakwall

Films, books, soundtracks, good humour
This entry was posted in Miscellaneous, Reviews and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to When Darkness Falls – Palace Theatre, Southend, Essex

  1. Urspo says:

    I find it a joy when I discover folks other than Canadians and Yanks enjoy and do some sort of Halloween.

  2. I do miss EastEnders, did you know you can get a down and out Ian Beale calendar for 2023…? Check it out.

  3. ManInBlack says:

    Emma goes to the theatre? You are more cultured than I thought.. 😉

  4. johnrieber says:

    Love your reviews – as entertaining as the play! #codliverrules

  5. beetleypete says:

    Have you watched the best film adaptation of ‘The Turn Of The Screw’, Em. It is ‘The Innocents’, starring Deborah Kerr and made in 1961. ‘The Signalman’ was marvellously adapted by the BBC in 1976. I found it online for you, not great quality, sadly. (I went to the theatre a lot when I lived in London. I haven’t been since moving to Norfolk.)

    As ever, Pete. XXX

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