A sensational show of Gothic Horror not to miss

Image - South Wales Evening Post 
I deviate from ancient Egypt in this post to tell you about an amazing play I have seen tonight as it touched upon my other loves - the Victorian period, traditional ghost stories and memento mori.

Still Lives, performed at the Taliesin here in Swansea, is a co-production between Mappa Mundi and Theatr Mwldan (a theatre company and a presenting arts centre).

The performance is in the genre of Gothic horror and calls upon some of the works of Edgar Allen Poe and M R James.  Furthermore, it touches upon the Victorian fascination with photography and the afterlife, and is suitably set in the last decade of the nineteenth century.  The premise of the play is that the audience has been invited to hear a lecture given by a photographer (brilliantly played by Richard Nichols) and right from the beginning of the performance you are made to feel part of the what is being related.  The one hour and twenty minutes speed by as Nichols tells the stories behind some of the photographs he has been involved with.  I won't give any spoilers here but the tales are brilliantly acted and sufficiently eerie to make many of the audience gasp and jump.  The production's use of the magic consultants - Morgan and West - ensured we were all entranced with some cleverly constructed surprises.

There are only 5 actors in the play - Gwawr Loader, Francois Pandolfo, Lizzie Rogan, Keiron Self and of course Richard Nichols.  Each gave a first class performance - Gandolfo was especially chilling in several of the stories.  The play reminded me in some ways of the theatre production of The Woman in Black in so much as the production upholds the tradition of engaging audience suspense through pure old fashioned storytelling.  Yet saying this, there are some excellent special effects which gave us in the audience a feast of visual and audio entertainment.

The only disappointment was how small the audience was - where were you people of Swansea?  You  missed a real treat!!!

The tour of Still Lives is next arriving at Aberystwyth Art Centre on 20 and 21 October.  Then the tour ends at Theatre Frycheiniog in Brecon on the 22-23 October.  If you can get there, please do.  You won't be disappointed!

Image - South Wales Evening Post


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