Review: The Red Room - Hartlepool Town Hall Theatre

The Red Room.
The Red Room.

The Red Room brought a new, spine-chilling take on a good, old-fashioned ghost story to the Town Hall Theatre.

Based on a short story of the same name by The War of the Worlds writer HG Wells, the play is written and performed by Karen Henson.

She plays the role of middle-aged mum Jenny Markham, who spends a night alone in an apparently haunted room in Lorraine Castle, determined to disprove the legends surrounding it.

Initially confident, the narrator becomes increasingly uneasy in the room as the night wears on.

Presented by the Rumpus Theatre Company, the play throws all the classic ingredients in the air to create an edge-of-your-seat, up-to-the-minute take on HG Wells’ original tale, which was first published in 1896.

It is very much in the mould of last year’s gripping BBC series The Living And The Dead, with a few elements of Most Haunted thrown in for good measure.

The ghostly tale is a familiar scenario, but aided by atmospheric sound and lighting, the outcome is totally unexpected and somewhat terrifying.

Henson, who has appeared in numerous theatre productions on tour and in the West End, following training at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School, is captivating in this one-woman show.

Her most recent appearance for Rumpus was as Irene Adler in the 2014 tour of Sherlock Holmes – The Scandal of the Scarlet Woman, and she brings all her stagecraft to this demanding role.

It was another successful and entertaining evening in a packed Town Hall Theatre.