Slightly afraid at Oldham Coliseum

I’d never been to Oldham Coliseum, but many people had told me how good it was.  I’d only ever seen one ghost story and that was Peaceful last month at the King’s Arms.  It made sense to see ‘The Mist in the Mirror’, originally written by Susan Hill who also wrote The Woman in Black, and about to embark on a national tour.

Oldham Coliseum is a lovely theatre, easily accessible by tram to Oldham Central.  Recently refurbished, it’s comfortable, has a great stage and is very welcoming.  ‘We like our comedy’, commented the Oldham man next to me.  Perhaps that’s why the theatre was only two thirds full.

Visually this production is spectacular, with scenes formed through digital projections, mainly rooted in old style black and white images.  Sound and light are impressive, cleverly evoking the chosen locations.  Overall the set comes alive.

But in the end the production doesn’t quite work.  Is it the story?  Is it the characterisation?  Is it the directing?  Something isn’t right and that something means that we’re not involved enough in the story to be truly scared.  At times it’s a little flat.  Some of the scenes are cut too short to understand what is happening and to see the desired effect.  Perhaps the play will mature as it tours.  As the confusing final scene played out, several people laughed.   It could all have been so much better.

I doubt I’ll see another ghost story; in today’s multimedia age it’s hard to do effectively on stage.  I will however return to the Oldham Coliseum.  It’s a cracking theatre.

Theatre lover, amateur director, occasional actor, writer.

One Response to “Slightly afraid at Oldham Coliseum”

  1. Andy W says:

    Glad you enjoyed your trip to Oldham, good to see you earlier.

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