There are darker things in a theatre than stage fright.
A controversial production of Hamlet is in rehearsals at Drury Lane, the setting for some of Regency tragedian Edmund Kean’s most mindboggling performances. In one of those outings, as Sir Giles Overreach in Philip Massinger’s A New Way to Pay Old Debts, the great actor was reputedly possessed by the Devil.
The leading man in our modern production is hellraising Irish genius Declan Mahoney, obsessed with Kean and determined to pay homage in his performance. The show is already marred by terrible friction between Mahoney and tyrannical director Daniel Loxley over who actually creates ‘character’ in a stage play, and by disturbing hostile interventions of someone - or something - in the theatre.
The black magic of stage superstition is activated by a seemingly harmless object brought into the building by poetical journalist Stencie Smith, whose brief is to interview Mahoney. This strange but ancient mascot unleashes triumph, tragedy and terror.
Published: 8 September 2014
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