HAUNTING JULIA SCARED ICE FACTORY AUDIENCES. - Review by Geoffrey Wildey
Teignmouth Players’ latest production, “Haunting Julia” a suspense chilling psychological thriller from Alan Ayckbourn’s pen certainly gripped the Ice Factory audiences.
This three actor and one female voice-over piece was skilfully directed by John Miles who created the perfect atmosphere from the play’s opening to its exciting finale.
Of the three male actors (and this was definitely a team play) Phil Wesley-Harkcom gave a thoroughly convincing and emotional performance as Julia’s troubled father. His facial ex- pressions and the dramatic pauses conveyed his inner feelings and turmoil providing a master class in “close stage” acting.
Garry Freemantle as Andy, one of Julia’s fellow university students and her boyfriend [on the whole] gave a well-controlled portrayal of a confused young man requiring answers to Julia’s death. He displayed his anger and disbelief of supernatural events and beings con- vincingly. [It was in his early duologue delivered downstage right when he needed to use the knack of just turning his head away from his listener and add slightly more projection to his dialogue delivery.]
It was left to Gordon Frow as the former janitor of the student residence to fill in some of the cracks in Julia’s story. He gave an excellent character study [but he also needed slightly more projection as he narrated his important role] throughout the play but I must add that in Act 2 he really shone and gave a compelling performance.
The voice-overs provided by Jaz Brown provided a most important part of the plot and alt- hough well delivered in the earlier act needed to be set at a higher volume so the audience were not required to strain to hear them perfectly so they knew and heard what and why Julia’s father and Andy were reacting to in their excellent “silent” role play.
The setting and costumes plus atmospheric music and lighting were all well chosen but it was the powerful effects that proved the most effective.
I have seen this play a few times before and it was most interesting to see John Miles’ ver- sion of the play come to life and to listen to the interval and after show comments and reac- tion to any theatre presentation, which is always the sign of how well the audience has been entertained or thrilled in this case.
Before I close my review, I would like to thank Barrie Wilson publicly for recommending“Haunting Julia” as a classic piece of theatre which merits a place in any theatre pro- gramme and John Miles, his cast and production team certainly did Alan Ayckbourn’s play justice and should be proud of their work.
Thank you all,