REVIEW: Misery, Connaught Theatre, Worthing

Philip Bulcock in Misery
Philip Bulcock in Misery

I GUESS it’s difficult to portray the full, bloody horror of Stephen King on stage without it looking like a pantomime.

Ian Dickens Productions International’s answer is to use dimmed lighting effects. Unfortunately, this makes it rather difficult to see what is going on and therefore takes away some of the impact in Misery, on stage at the Connaught Theatre this week.

Throughout, they choose to darken the stage rather than drop a curtain for the scene changes and, again, this does rather dull some of the mystery.

Performances, though, are the saviour of the piece, with Rebecca Wheatley positively fearsome as Annie, writer Paul Sheldon’s “number one fan”. Her eyes were haunting and performance mesmerizing, to the point I was shaking all the way home after the opening night on Tuesday, August 28.

Her American accent was very good but it wasn’t always easy to understand. Her rages had us quaking in our boots, though, as the injured author repeatedly failed to live up to her expectactions.

Philip Bulcock as Sheldon kept pretty calm throughout with the odd terrified screaming, though I’d have liked it to be a bit more blood curdling for full effect.

This limited run is taking in just three venues, so Worthing is privileged. And, on Tuesday, the cast of two got the applause they deserved.

Misery runs at the Connaught Theatre, Union Place, Worthing, until Saturday, September 1, at 7.30pm daily. Tickets: £14 to £23, concessions £1 off, school/youth groups of 10+ £10. Box offices: 01903 206206 or www.worthingtheatres.co.uk.

Elaine Hammond