Turn of the Screw

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Henry James’s The Turn of the Screw adapted by Tim Luscombe, 2016


– It’s quite too horrible.
– For sheer terror?
– For dreadful – dreadfulness! For general uncanny ugliness and horror and pain.
– Oh, how delicious!

Henry James’s famous ghost story Turn of the Screw has been rendered fresh and urgent in Tim Luscombe’s new stage adaptation for four actors, which was produced by Dermot McLaughlin, the Mercury Theatre Colchester and Wolverhampton Grand in Spring 2018, and will be revived this year for a further UK tour. Please see https://www.turnofthescrewplay.com/ for full details.

It was published by Oberon books, autumn 2018

A young governess is sent to look after two orphaned children in Bly, an idyllic country house. But shortly after her arrival, she realises that she and the children are not alone when she’s startled by the spectre of a strange man, a figure both frightening and alluring. This ghostly intruder is merely the harbinger of others – ex-inhabitants who’ve returned to haunt the place and threaten the governess’s safety and that of her two young charges.

Determined to prove her value, the governess will risk everything to keep the children safe, even if it means giving herself up to…The Others.

This adaptation remains faithful to James’ much-loved classic, retaining the ambiguity and letting the audience draw their own conclusions about the events in Bly and what actually happened to the governess and the innocents under her protection.

Four actors – three female & one male – play:

– The Governess
– Mrs Conray/Flora
– Mrs Grose
– The Employer, Miles and the Others

Setting: Multi-locational, fluid

Published: Oberon, autumn 2018

Initially Produced: Colchester and UK tour 2018 https://www.turnofthescrewplay.com/

Articles: An article in Neo-Victorian Studies, reviewing the 2018 production.

Selected Reactions

If my cardiologist knew I was going, she might have stepped in to stop it — and with good reason: there’s never a moment when you can truly sit back and be at ease. Adaptor Tim Luscombe [gives] us a 21st century slant with the filter of psychoanalysis.

Mike RowbottomHenley Standard

Luscombe’s version is dense with cunning, detailed dialogue.

Charles Hutchinsonyorkpress.co.uk

Tim Luscombe’s adaptation is slick and masterly.

Angie Millardyorkmix.com

The script has been adapted by Tim Luscombe, framing it as a flashback, which serves to enhance the ‘are-they-real-or-is-she-delusional’ subtext.

Ian DouglasLeftlion

A superb leap-out-of-your-seat and watch-you-don’t-spill-your-wine thriller as the narrative weaves dizzily backwards and forwards in time.

The re-imagining is heavy on the thrills and chills (at any moment I could be found perched on the edge of my seat or jumping out of my skin) but they aren’t cheap. The careful subtleties and nuances guide a deeply thought-provoking production.

Sally Wilsonsmallcitybigpersonality.co.uk

***** (5 stars)

Turn of the Screw (stage adaptation by Tim Luscombe) is a mind twisting, otherworldly five star hit.

Very intelligently written by theatre stalwart Tim Luscombe.

A meticulously presented evening of ghostly goings on written in a scintillating spooky style [that] stays with one long after the performance.

Philip Loweeastmidlandstheatre.com
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