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Casting the Runes | Pleasance Theatre

Theatre company Box Tale Soup present a chilling new adaptation of MR James' classic ghost stories in Casting The Runes. You are invited to the edge of your seat, on a journey to the darkest corners of the night. Expert on the so-called supernatural, Edward Dunning, is a scholar and a sceptic. But when he crosses paths with the mysterious Mr. Karswell, Dunning's life becomes a waking nightmare.

... And on the edge of my seat I was! This adaptation is a captivating paranormal thriller with some brilliant staging and effects for a one-act fringe style show. There are only two actors in the show - Noel Byrne (who plays Edward Dunning mainly) and Antonia Christophers, who portray some incredible storytelling. Neither leave the stage for the entire 60 minutes and work incredibly hard throughout with the scene changes by moving set and props around. They multi-role effortlessly, especially Antonia who plays multiple different parts during the play. Most of this is done through puppetry, which works really well as they played a character as themself and transitioned into another through using a puppet. These puppets are really well designed and I couldn't stop looking at their "eyes" as they had so much depth and looked so real! This made the characters come alive and I forgot they were puppets, adding to the atmosphere of the piece. Whilst the props and set are both minimalistic, they are really well done and designed with the aid of direction from Adam Lenson. Lenson's direction allows the cast to use props to transport the show to different places and makes their world come to life.

This is an incredibly thrilling and captivating piece which is very atmospheric & creepy. What made this production for me was the lighting and sound design which added to the spooky and paranormal atmosphere. The lighting design utilised darkness, streetlights and flashing lights in a really eerie way, and is combined with an original soundtrack specifically for this production, composed by Dan Melrose. This, along with a great use of sound effects was what made the show so captivating and atmospheric.

It's worth mentioning that the Box Tale Soup Theatre Company are a small team who work so hard by making their own sets and props, writing their own adaptations to perform. It is great to see a small team with so much passion and how brilliant they are at storytelling without a big budget. Casting The Runes is a captivating paranormal thriller which integrates a fantastic use of puppetry, lighting & an atmospheric sound design that kept me on the edge of my seat. The hour flys by and the energy & storytelling never dips at any time. 


AD | gifted tickets in return for an honest review | Photography by Theatrical Solutions 


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