With December now in full swing and the festivities of Christmas literally just around the corner there’s never been a more apt time to indulge in the traditional ghost story for Christmas. So when the opportunity arose to cover one of the legendary performances of Robert Lloyd Parry as M R James telling Ghost Stories for Christmas, how could we simply refuse.
Set in the suitably atmospheric upstairs rooms of the Old Red Lion Theatre in Angel, London this stunning building is reputed to be one of (if not ) the oldest public-house in London. An original tavern supposedly stood on the spot in 1415 so there’s a wealth of history that’s taken place within these walls. In 1979 the pub’s first floor was first used as a small theatrical area – since which a host of a great performances have taken here above the drinking revellers downstairs. Robert Lloyd Parry’s (Nunkie Productions) performances as M R James have long been heralded as some of the finest ghost story performances around today. Originally performed in December 2005 when Robert’s show ‘A pleasing terror’ was stagedin an old office in the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge. These intimate performances performed by candlelight to small groups of people have garnered rave reviews. So much so Robert portrayed the master of ghost stories himself Montague Rhodes James in Mark Gatiss’s documentary ‘Ghost Writer’
Tonight Robert is performing as James again, staging two of his most beloved stories ‘Lost Hearts’ and ‘A Warning To The Curious’ in the Old Red Lion’s upper rooms. The intimate setting is perfectly set for an evening of ghost stories, with a victorian style chair and table littered with appropriate mementos of an old Cambridge professor. Taking our seats and illuminated only by candlelight the hustle and bustle of London fades away as Robert begins these beloved chilling tales of haunting encounters. Stripping the ghost story back to it’s very foundations as a medium best told intimately and with limited light the ambience is perfect as your eyes constantly adjust themselves to the darkness around the narrator. In doing so, you’re constantly reminded of our most primal of fears the darkness, and Robert uses this to great effect.
Both stories are told fantastically well, with some notably chilling moments. It’s especially unsettling hearing of the ghostly apparitions of the gypsy children as they haunt young Stephen. Not to mention the monstrous phantom of William Agar in A Warning To The Curious as he constantly pursues the helpless amateur archeologist Paxton.
These performances are absolutely perfect for the Winter season, especially at a time when ghost stories are on the rise. If you haven’t yet I heartily endorse you get yourself a ticket for one of Robert’s future performances.
See some other upcoming events at the Old Red Lion Theatre – http://www.oldredliontheatre.co.uk
View Nunkie’s performance schedule here http://www.nunkie.co.uk/