A show that has been described as “a polished blockbuster” was bound to to be accompanied by high expectation, so attending Bill Kenwrights stage version of “The Exorcist” performing to a crowded house, at the Regent Theatre Stoke on Trent Hanley, was the main course.
Adapted by John Pielmeier from William Peter Blattys original novel. The stage show trades frequently on the global fame of William Friedkins 1973 film and it was intriguing as to how the story would be recreated on stage.
Pretty damned well (no pun intended!)
The opening Scene was set with an exciting introduction of explosive audiology and lighting effect, that warned the the audience of a “Seat of your pants “experience.
The scene and props remained perfectly set, with a split level of 2 scenes and a double conversation, with both powerful dialogues, and a historical ly based distressing life story.
Susannah Edge who is the core of the drama played with wonderful commitment, and graceful skill, and her elegantly intimidating behaviour was perfectly staged.
Paul Nicholas and Ben Caplan’s efforts of creating the terrifying scene of the exorcism, is somewhat let down by the sound effects that should accompany such action or realism.
Sophia Ward who has the difficult ground and strives to follow Glenda Jackson, is a little overwhelmed in this powerful performance, her accent is neither New York or American, her voice is soft, with diminutive impact to the performance,
Nevertheless, the articulation of Tristam Wymark was remarkable, his pompous, powerful English accent created a vast, vocal performance. and undoubtedly, made his presence felt on stage.
Ian McKellen disembodied voice. however, does not quite each the disturbing audiology and intimidating impact of the film. He does, however, achieve the pinnacle of “Politely Menacing” elements to the performance and creates unnerving influence throughout the performance.
The scene is well performed, and presents a sinister and disturbing religious edge to a transcribed “frightening performance”
A most enjoyable Horror classic brought to our stage, unfortunately Mike Oldfield’s “Tubular Bells “ is most certainly absent from creating a movie classic transferred to theatre. I suspect this is either due to licensing issues, or maybe the producers wishing to distance themselves a little.
The whole performance is greatly enjoyable, and let’s be honest a little scary too, that still gave the classic experience of the melancholy powerful 1970s classic.
The Exorcist runs at the Regent Theatre, Stoke on Trent until Saturday 5th October.