Review: The Haunting Of Blaine Manor at Darlington Hippodrome

Review: The Haunting Of Blaine Manor at Darlington Hippodrome

Last night we were invited to see the terrifying new play that has got everyone talking. The Haunting of Blaine Manor at Darlington Hippodrome

So what’s it all about? The Haunting of Blaine Manor is set in England, 1953. 

Renowned American parapsychologist Doctor Roy Earle, famous for discrediting hauntings and exposing fake mediums, is invited to attend a seance in Blaine Manor, said to be the most haunted building in England.

Earle’s arrival awakens something horrific within the manor’s walls. As a raging storm closes them off from the outside world, Earle and his companions find that what is waiting within the manor is not nearly as horrific as what has entered with him.

In the spirit of M R James, England’s most accomplished ghost story writer (Casting the Runes, Whistle and I’ll Come To You My Lad, The Haunted Doll’s House) and with a nod to the classic black and white film classics of Columbia Pictures, Metro Goldwyn Mayor, Universal Pictures and 20th Century Fox. O’Byrne’s award winning production of The Haunting of Blaine Manor is a love letter to both the Golden Age of Hollywood and the Hammer Horror Era. An appreciation of the fabulous characters played by the likes of Vincent Price, Peter Cushing, Bette Davis, Peter Lorre and more.

From the opening scene viewers are transformed to a set of an old building complete with ornaments, deep leather chairs and a skull in a glass case. We meet characters Vivian Rutledge lady of the manor, Doctor Roy Earle who seems to have a dark past and Cairo an eccentric psychic medium. Certainly the play is full of very colourful and two dimensional characters who we listen and get to know through the first half of the show. Jo Haydock who plays Vivian in particular was very charismatic and engaging. The way she holds herself throughout the show was particularly noticeable and you can see the experience she holds to portray such a character so successfully. Peter Slater playing Doctor Earle too has vast performances under his belt and his character was so natural and believable. 

The show really sucks in the viewer throughout and you find yourself waiting on tenterhooks for more scares all the time, the tension is palpable.

Vincent De Lambre (Ed Barry) is another great addition to the show as is Adolphus Scarabus (Jimmy Allen) who ‘sees dead people’ but as the show goes on maybe doesn’t quite hold the psychic powers he says he does! Allen’s performance is very convincing and natural. A born entertainer! Finally Grady played by the fantastic Joe O’Byrne adds his own talent to the mix. You can see that O’Byrne has the inner knowledge of characterisation and the way he gels with the rest of the cast is fantastic to watch.

As the show runs on you find out that there is a lot more than meets the eye at Blaine Manor and this is played brilliantly by the cast. The clues are in the finer details and you will be guessing your way through. The show has plenty of eerie moments and you’ll definitely find yourself looking over your shoulder on the way home!

Highly recommended and thoroughly enjoyed!

Written & Directed by Joe O’Byrne

Winner of The Salford Star Best Play of 2017 Award

Review by Cassie Cooper 

*Tickets Gifted 

What The Butler Saw runs at Darlington Hippodrome runs for one last day today Saturday 22 June. For more information or to book visit or call the Box Office on 01325 405405.

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