On a dark, brooding October night, Thomas Howells visits Cardiff’s New Theatre to review James Milton and Paul Morrissey’s Ghost Thriller, When Darkness Falls starring Peter Duncan and Daniel Rainford.
When Darkness Falls is a new thrilling ghost story set in Guernsey where we follow John Blondel, a sceptical history teacher portrayed by Peter Duncan, and the ominous paranormal expert: The Speaker, portrayed by Daniel Rainford.
The story is mainly a collection of four ghost stories, horrifically described by The Speaker and lightly acted out by both actors. Meanwhile, we watch as John Blondel is tormented by what seemingly is a spirit haunting his office, of which he tries to rationalise all occurrences while attempting to create a functioning paranormal podcast in order to disprove the existence of spirits.
One of my favourite features of the show is the mist above the stage. I interpreted this as the manifestation of the spirit as it appeared to grow while activity was high or the climax of a ghost story was reached.
The two characters seem to have entirely conflicting ideas with John as a paranoid non-believer endlessly rationalising paranormal activity and trying to use his platform to debate and disprove the concept of ghosts, while The Speaker is evidently trying to encourage the non-believers to give the paranormal a chance.
Peter Duncan portrays John as a comedic character in the beginning with hilarious jumps and awkward behaviour creating humorous effects. This develops later on to have him compliment the terror best. Contrastingly, Daniel Rainford’s Speaker’s character is made for suspense in how he describes ghost stories inducing fear in the audience, especially when paired with the intense sound effects such as sudden lightning strikes – which caused the entire theatre audience to jump – and a hilarious generic Psycho horror ringtone which randomly played to shock the audience and create laughs.
The set was also incredibly designed as it created a sense of discomfort before the play even began. The cluttered desks and kitchen area conveyed disrepair and lack of care while the dark and unclean colours create an uncomfortable feeling and somewhat foreshadow the traumatic events of the play.
Furthermore, the lighting was naturally a huge part of the play. There is a single moody light hanging above the office area which keeps focus on one part of the stage and makes a threatening scene. The light has many instances where it flickers intensely and switches off on its own, an expected but terrifying part of the thriller.
Incredibly intense and dramatic, When Darkness Falls is undeniably unmissable for any fans of horror or somebody who wants a scare.
- When Darkness Falls runs until Saturday October 15, for ticket availability visit The New Theatre’s website.
- All Photos by Pamela Raith.