The Haunting of Blaine Manor
The Haunting of Blaine Manor

The Eerie atmosphere was created instantly as the theatre darkened and the mysterious noises surrounded us, with the sounds of a horse immediately drawing me in, before the set and cast had even appeared. I was hooked as I was transported to 1953 in a room of Blaine Manor.

Several people have gathered in the haunted Blaine Manor. Roy Earle (Peter Slater) a paranormal investigator aiming to prove the house isn’t haunted, Cairo (Andrew Yates) the stage mind reader, the medium Adolphus Scarabus (Jimmy Allen) the journalist Vivian Rutledge (Jo Haydock) and completing the cast with the representative of the house owner, Vincent (Ed Barry) and the butler Grady (Joe O’Byrne).

The first half methodically introduces the range of characters, as the script cleverly drops in clues as to where the story may go. It may feel that at times it moves slowly as a play, but you can feel that it has been so well scripted, that we are being set up and just don’t know where the story will go. In the 2nd act, not only the story, but the house itself came alive. There are twists and turns as it entered the final moments of the play where I knew I’d just watched something special, where I could watch it again, even knowing the surprising conclusions.

The set is relatively sparse, but that is the beauty of it, especially by not having the painting on the wall, as the audience will all have their own image of how it would look, drawing me even further into the Manor. The lighting worked perfectly with the setting. The characterisations were all brilliantly portrayed, over the top at just the right points.

This is certainly one of the best ghost stories I’ve seen for a long time. I can’t wait to see it again.

The Haunting of Blaine Manor runs until Saturday 29th June at Darlington Hippodrome.