Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Haunting Julia by Alan Ayckbourn at Riverside Studios

Go, go, go. It's £15 very well spent. This production is wonderful: the play is a great ghost story/pychological thriller, the acting beyond superb, the production excellent. It's so often hit or miss at Riverside Studios but this is a hit. Go early and have dinner on their lovely terrace overlooking the Hammersmith Bridge and then prepare to be thoroughly entertained with a whodunnit of sorts. The dead person is Julia Lukin, a young music prodigy who committed suicide seven years earlier. The three most significant men in her life--Christopher Timothy as her father Joe Lukin, Dominic Hecht as her boyfriend Andy Rollinson, and Richard O'Callaghan as the wild card Ken Chase--are brought together cleverly by the playwright to unravel the whys and wherefores of her death. She, however, is very much in the room, figuratively, spiritually, and, we wonder while sitting on the edge of our seats, will she appear actually? All the performances were very good but I thought Richard O'Callaghan as the janitor/psychic especially strong. (Loved the Yorkshire accents!) The play's ending (last ten minutes) relies far too heavily on cliche (ah, the perils of endings) but by I wasn't too bothered, the evening had been mostly well spent.