The theatrical thriller, Murder In The Dark has crept its way onto the Manchester stage – catch it before the lights go out this weekend.
Murder In The Dark
The current weather provides the perfect ambience for this haunting play.
The strong winds push you through the doors of The Lowry before you even have a chance to chicken out.
Murder mysteries and thrillers are huge right now, everyone is hooked, including me.
From Fool Me Once on Netflix, to the BBC’s Traitors, people can’t get enough!
I jumped at the chance to see this new play that promised a whole host of twists and turns.
Murder In The Dark is a brilliant blend of psychological thriller, a hint of horror and impeccable storytelling.
Torben Betts incredible writing
Writer Torben Betts was challenged to come up with something that would disturb and entertain in equal measure and he has certainly achieved that.
The play is set on New Years Eve, Danny and his girlfriend Sarah are ushered through the door of an old barn house.
He crashed their car into a wall in the middle of nowhere on their way to a party.
The owner of the barn, Mrs Bateman, spotted them and offered them a place to stay; how kind of her! Mrs Bateman, played by Susie Blake, natters away to them as they try and wrap their heads around what to do.
She uses a torch to show them the musty wooden beams that line the ceiling, the dusty old couch and limp looking Christmas tree in the corner. You can almost smell the damp.
Tom Chambers as the tormented musician
Danny, played by TV’s Tom Chambers, is an ageing musician who is tormented by his past.
Finding himself stuck with no other option, he starts to reflect.
Tom is a great actor, you might recognise him from Holby City, Casualty, or even Strictly, he’s done a bit of everything and has now returned to the stage.
He is joined by Susie Blake who, at 73, absolutely captivated the whole audience.
Her character, Mrs Bateman talks almost non-stop throughout the whole play.
Like any single, lonely older lady she takes a fancy to the aging pop star who’s stumbled upon her farm – and with her cheeky grin, she could get away with anything.
Of course, this wouldn’t be a thriller without some flickering lights and ghost stories.
Murder In The Dark – full of twists and turns
The play allows you to settle in, and get comfortable with the characters and then throws you a curveball.
As the rest of the passengers from the crash arrive, the power cuts out.
This is where the magic of theatre comes alive.
Effective staging and lighting
The staging and lighting for this show is simple but highly effective.
The characters are plunged into darkness, with only phone torches to guide their way.
The set is weakly lit by a few warm light bulbs at the edge of the stage, giving that perfect horror film feel.
The darkness allows anything to happen; quick changes, characters disappearing even walls moving seamlessly in the dark.
This is a dialog-heavy play, there’s a lot of character discussions that help tell the story.
But that doesn’t mean the sound designer, Max Pappenheim, got a day off. The sound of creaking doors, dogs barking in the distance, and mysterious crashes and bangs all add to the atmosphere of the show. Keeping you hooked, waiting for something to creep out from behind the stage.
The story and setting have you sitting on the edge of your seat from the moment you enter the theatre.
Nothing is as it seems. As the programme instructs, I want to ‘spread the word, not the spoilers’ so you will have to see it for yourself to find out more about this killer play.
Murder In The Dark Tickets at The Lowry
Murder in the Dark is on at The Lowry’s Lyric Theatre from Tuesday 23rd January until Saturday 27th January.
You can get tickets to see the incredible Murder In The Dark by clicking here