The Turn of the screw is a ghost story about a young governess placed in charge of two children in a house where ’something wicked’ has happened. Beginning with the hiring of the governess, the play focuses on the isolation that the governess faces from the servants, her employer and even her wards as more and more strange events threaten to drive her mad.
For those conversant in the gothic tradition, the play is thoroughly enjoyable with a refreshing lack of modern baggage. At no point does the troupe try to make this story more than the basic tragedy it is and the mystery of the ghosts is left firmly in place. Those who are unaware of the story may find it confusing as the way it portrays memory has characters entering the stage with no real marker to identify them as simply memories. But, if you can get past this minor issue, the play is generally superb.
With a minimal set, the cast are able to create the illusion of frantic chases through corridors and endless claustrophobic rooms with remarkable flowing ease. Laura Trundle is immaculate in portraying the governess, whether working with the cast or the increasingly sinister puppet children. The puppetry also deserves mention as the use of the ‘Ghosts’ as puppeteers is an incredibly effective way of highlighting that even if there are no ghosts we are as much haunted by the past.
Overall, a thrilling and entertaining experience, ‘The Turn of the Screw’ leaves you wanting more from this fantastic performance.