The first half of The Turn of the Screw draws on all the theatrical devices it can to make for a chilling experience.
Adapted by Rebecca Lenkiewicz from Henry James' late 19th century novella it sees a new governess (Anna Madeley) arrive at a remote old house to look after orphaned children: Flora (Emilia Jones) and Miles (Laurence Belcher). There is mystery from the start as to the manner of death of the children's previous governess, the much loved Miss Jessel, and the identity of the man who appears on the tower.
In the second half we see our Governess falling apart as she tries to protect the children from supernatural forces but is it all in her head or is the real ghost something that happened to the children when Miss Jessel was around?
This is Victorian gothic mixed with something that implies sexual abuse or perversion and while it hits the marks with the thrills the plot doesn't always flow. Some scenes are just too short between scenes changes (the production makes full use of a revolve) leaving you questioning why they bothered. As a result it feels a little disjointed and sometimes a little rushed and I couldn't help wondering what had been missed out of the source text.
If you liked The Woman in Black or stories of that ilk then this is worth a go. The Turn of the Screw runs until 16 March at the Almeida Theatre.
Nice little direct connection, Anna Madeley was in Brideshead Revisited with Mr W.