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By Becky Kroon twitter.com/BeckyKroon
This production contains strong language and misogyny.
Review: The Witching Hour at The Blue Orange Theatre
⭐⭐⭐⭐”The perfect evening out in the lead-up for Halloween”
Written and directed by James Williams
After the success of The Wicked Lady and The Orphanage, DR1 Theatricals Limited annual horror production returned to The Blue Orange for The Witching Hour, and James Williams pulled out to make sure it was the most grotesque yet.
Set up by a seemingly abandoned house in the middle of the woods, the narrative follows Erin Bailey, played by Jessica Porter, who is studying the history of witchcraft at university. Encouraged by her supervisor, she visits a forest with her brother with a mission to ‘debunk’ the 1600s witch story of Elspeth Langford, proving her to be a victim of 17th-Century misogyny rather than a perpetrator of witchcraft.
However, in similar fashion to The Orphanage and The Wicked Lady, the story takes a dark turn exploring sinister human motivations alongside the supernatural revelations.
The set and lighting design by Alex Johnson were impressive once again. The intricate detail of the space, including small brick tower, a practical trap door and a hole in the middle of the abandoned house created the perfect opportunities for a good jump scare. Mixed with strobe lighting and stage smoke, each supernatural scare felt just as intense as the former.
However, the most shocking imagery in the production was at the beginning of the second act, which showed a flashback to ghost Elspeth’s past. Careful choreography depicted Elspeth being a victim of sexual violence from the village vicar, but later persecuted for being a witch by the same man. The uncomfortable moment provided a reminder of the torture and abuse young women had to face as a result of public fear.
The Witching Hour is a classic gothic in its truest form. For anyone into their horror, this is the perfect evening out in the lead-up for Halloween. This production runs until 21st October 2023, book tickets here: blueorangetheatre.co.uk/project/thewitchinghour.