Bit from London: BRACKEN MOOR

by Lynn on July 7, 2013

in The Passionate Playgoer

July 5, 2013, Evening

At the Tricycle Theatre, London. Written by Alexi Kaye Campbell. Directed by Polly Teale. Designed by Tom Piper. Lighting by Oliver Fenwick . Music and sound by Jon Nicholls. Starring: Antony Byrne, Daniel Flynn, Natalie Gavin, Helen Schlesinger, Simon Shepherd, Joseph Timms, Sarah Woodward.

A ghost story with a moral message. Elizabeth and her Harold Pritchard have had their share of tragedy. Ten years before their 12 year old son  Edgar died in a freak, painful accident. Elizabeth has been haunted by it ever since. Harold has gotten on with his job as owner of a mining company. He is faced with closing one of his mines for financial reasons. One of the men from the mine has a better solution which can save all the jobs that will be lost and will still make money for Mr. Pritchard. He won’t hear of it.

Friends come to call bringing their 22-year-old son Terence with them. Terence was very close to the dead boy. Terence is put in Edgar’s old room. Well wouldn’t you know it, the ghost/spirit inhabits Terence and makes him relive the terrible accident and results. Elizabeth confides in Terence that she has been haunted by her son; talks to him; dreams about him. She has been stuck in that life and has not been able to move from it. Terence gives her solace. Her husband does not. When the full brunt of the possession takes place and Terence goes to the place were Edgar died, there is a resolution of sorts.

Elizabeth is told through a ‘possessed’ Terence to move on with her life. That’s what her son would have wanted.  She decides to leave that house and go to London to stay with her sister. Her husband remains. He refuses to budge on the situation with the mines and signs the papers that will put many people out of work. He is alone in the house. Then the ghost of his dead 12-year-old son comes calling and appearing to him; walking towards him, arms out, calling “Father. Father.” Blackout.


Fitting and not a neat ending. The mother gets redemption and moves on with her life. The possessed Terence is left unharmed and goes on with his life. The father is heartless and will get his comeuppance and be haunted by his son. I think that’s fair.

A psychological thriller and well done. As Elizabeth, Helen Schlesinger is like a walking, wounded ghost herself; grief stricken; heartsick; unable to move forward until she can. It’s a sensitive, detailed performance. As Terence, Joseph Timms is bright, confident, charming, and sensitive. As Vanessa, Terence’s mother, Sarah Woodward has that right coolness, not brittle, but matter of fact. It’s a solid performance.

Interesting play. I’ll get more plays by Alexi Kaye Campbell.

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