The Book Of Darkness & Light – A Review

Legend has it that many years ago a book of terrifying tales was found. Now you are invited to discover The Book Of Darkness & Light … If you dare!

Join THE STORYTELLER and THE MUSICIAN for an evening of spine-tingling tales and haunting live music. Three ghostly stories to delight and horrify, accompanied by the beautiful sounds of the violin.

The above is the blurb lifted from the inside of the pamphlet distributed at the production – and, boy, what a production. We went to see The Book Of Darkness & Light at Harrogate Library – not the place you would normally associate with an experimental theatre piece.

I was ill equipped for the onslaught as I had spent the afternoon in the pub with Andy Dennis talking about deteriorating situation of the world (as Andy is an MSF nurse – I fear that Andy may be deployed to Syria). So with a full bladder and a heightened buzz I had completely forgot that I put my name down for a theatre production – Thankfully Kathryn put me right and we were swiftly on our way to the library. Also, this is a theatre review – I am ill-equiped for that too; preferring to speak about experimental music on my other blog, Sigil Of Brass. However, this is my adventure blog – and The Book Of Darkness & Light was my adventure for the day

I was unsure as to what to expect – Kathryn told me “There is something that sounds cool happening at the Library on Friday – Fancy going?” and I put my name down. It was free to enter and there was the option to pay what you thought the production was worth upon leaving. Nothing to lose, hoping for the best.

When we got there there was a Field Recording of a glacial drip – the library was lit with atmospheric, pensive lighting and there was a improvised stage at the back of the building with an auditorium of seating. We found our spot and on walked The Musician (Ben Styles). Styles played the violin with breathtaking beauty throughout the performance.

Styles playing perfectly complimented Adam Z. Robinson’s storytelling – it all worked together – they held the audience in the palm of their hand. Styles violin playing heightened the suspense of the production and complimented Robinson’s monologue so as to draw the listener in to their tangled web of ghoulish horror.

There were three stories in all – I will not give any of the plot lines away as I really recommend that you check them out if you get the chance. Robinson’s recital was flawless – he did a lot better job than any of the audience members could and good on him for having the testicular fortitude to stand there and deliver his own work to a sell-out crowd. I have always been of the opinion that verse should be heard and not read – this compounded my hypothesis in that there is ample room for story telling in the open mic cannon – although I doubt I will see an act to top this one.

Robinson’s feat of memory was remarkable. The production was remarkable – they play Boroughbridge Library next week and return to Harrogate for the 17th – 18th of December. I will definitely be there.

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More details about The Book Of Darkness & Light can be found on their website, www.thebookofdarknessandlight.com. Feel free to follow them on Twitter @DarkLightBook but definitely, if you get the chance – check them out.

H. P. Lovecraft’s “At The Mountains Of Madness” by Icarus Theatre

The below is what Harrogate Theatre had to say about H. P. Lovecraft’s “At The Mountains Of Madness” by Icarus Theatre . Me and the good lady wife went along to it as a way of celebrating our fifth wedding anniversary. Five years of happiness. I write about the joy of married life all over my blog, so this post will be a review of the Theatre performance that we witnessed last night.

Desperate. Incensed. Exhausted. William Dyer returns from a cursed expedition to the Antarctic.

To protect our world, he keeps deep secrets that he knows the speaking of can only shatter his fragile mind. But as he comes to the realisation that we, the audience, are planning to go further into the penetrating cold than he dared, will his secrets unfold? Will he finally be resigned to speak? Will he share the truth, and give us a terrifying glimpses of – the horror of things that should not be?

They even did a video to drum up the capacity crowd that flocked to the Studio Theatre on the night of the 24th to see Icarus Theatre’s production of H. P. Lovecraft’s “At The Mountains Of Madness”.

The studio theatre was was full to capacity and I was clueless as to what to expect. I am no theatre regular – I have never pretended to be. So, what was I doing at the theatre? I was marking an event by treating me and my wife. The theatre is a treat – and one I wish to indulge in more often after the wonders of last night.

What happened in the performance? Well, I was clueless as to what to expect. On a base level it was one man having a conversation with his radio – on an other level  it was a masterclass in acting with a thespian who held his audience in the palm of his hand as he conducted a one man play.

RSC actor and RADA faculty Tim Hardy was the sole performer on the night – accompanied by atmospheric lighting and audio props that made for a very atmospheric performance. A performance that will stay with me for a while. The images created were of bleak, compounded fear and an unknowable evil – The delivery of the performance really was first class – the theme of insanity was fleshed out as a group of Antartic explorers faced an unknowable foe.

As stated I am no theatre buff – I treat the theatre as a treat. And we were treated.

We were treated to a show that was true to the H. P. Lovecraft original and made the hair stand up on the back of my neck. I experienced frisson during last night.

Roll on January for the next Lovecraft installment at Harrogate Theatre.