REVIEW: Turn of the Screw, Connaught Theatre, Worthing

Maggie McCarthy as Mrs Grose with Carli Norris as the governess in Turn of the Screw
Maggie McCarthy as Mrs Grose with Carli Norris as the governess in Turn of the Screw

Henry James’s famous ghost story Turn of the Screw has been given a new twist in Tim Luscombe’s stage adaptation for four actors.

Very different to the Southwick Players’ version we saw at The Barn Theatre in Southwick recently, the play at the Connaught Theatre this week tells the story almost in reverse.

We see the governess, played by EastEnders actress Carli Norris, having to justify her actions 30 years after the dramatic events at Bly.

Flora, played by Annabel Smith, takes her to task and everything that happened is called into question.

Both Carli and Annabel use physicality, pauses and voice changes to indicate the move from present to past and back again, so it is clear for the audience.

It is very clever and very well done by both actresses.

Rather than changing between time frames, Michael Hanratty has to switch character - but this happens off stage.

The end result has a sinister edge where really nothing is clear, just as Henry James intended in the original novella.

During the question and answer session after the opening night performance last night, it was clear various people in the audience had drawn very different conclusions.

What was also clear was that everyone had enjoyed the play and that is the main thing.

Make up your own mind, Turn of the Screw runs at the Connaught Theatre in Worthing until Saturday, with performances at 2.30pm and 7.30pm today and Saturday, and at 7.30pm on Friday.

READ MORE

REVIEW: The Turn of the Screw, Barn Theatre, Southwick

REVIEW: Turn of the Screw, Portsmouth (and later Worthing)