Robert Lloyd Parry tells ghost stories by M.R.James, The Manor, Hemingford Grey, November 4 2011

If you’re a fan of M.R.James and you relish a spooky night out you should make every effort to get to see one of Robert Lloyd Parry’s performances of these classic English ghost stories. Lloyd Parry is a Cambridgeshire based actor who for the last five years or so has been staging recitals of these chilling tales of over-curious academics and arrogant authority figures stirring up forces they can’t control, and he’s a wonder to behold: he affects the appearance, demeanour and speech patterns of an abstracted early 20th Century don perfectly, and uses candlelight and the natural ambience of his carefully chosen venues to heighten the atmosphere. James’s stories tend to start slowly, with the scene-setting early paragraphs sometimes seeming discursive, but Lloyd Parry takes full advantage, taking every opportunity to establish the main characters as distracted, or diffident, or sceptical, before the supernatural elements in the narratives start to make themselves apparent, at which point Lloyd Parry expertly deploys his few special effects: the low lighting in the room which enables him to throw sinister shadows, or an ostensibly harmless handkerchief that’s made to assume malevolent intentions through the power of suggestion. The horror in James’s stories is rarely made explicit, and Lloyd Parry’s interpretations suit this subtle, but horribly effective, something-unsettling-in-the-corner-of-your-eye mode of storytelling like a glove. I was lucky enough to see him doing The Ash Tree and Oh Whistle And I’ll Come To You at The Manor in Hemingford Grey last night (one of the oldest houses in the country, with the room in which he performed being essentially unaltered since Norman times) and he was spellbinding. The other stories he performs are Lost Hearts, A Warning To The Curious, The Mezzotint, and my absolute favourite Canon Alberic’s Scrapbook – catch him while you can.

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One response to “Robert Lloyd Parry tells ghost stories by M.R.James, The Manor, Hemingford Grey, November 4 2011

  1. Pingback: Fishskin Trousers, Brighton Emporium Theatre, October 17 2013 | the tale of bengwy

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