Note: This review is from the 2020 Fringe

Being alone with one’s thought can be a cure for some, a curse for others. Haunted by our dissolution and choices, Nia William’s short digital production examines a woman driving herself to the brink of insanity through her disastrous, unhealthy obsession with her partner and another woman. Capitalising on spooks, Three Chairs and a Hat’s Haunted begins life as an eerie, uncomfortable production which steadily grows in narrative and intention.

Subverting expectations, Williams’ writing deceives the watcher at first, tying her untrustworthy narration directly into the performance. These ghosts which taunt, tease, and alter reality are as much in our heads as the stresses which concern us. Tormented by her expectations and paranoia, Haunted finds a woman dealing with the phantoms inside her head, as the stresses of relationships, insecurity and paranoia take a heavy toll during lockdown.

It makes for an engaging, though head-scratching production where just a little too much is drawn into question. Gradually foundations are swept, leaving viewers with a few too many peculiar turns and revelations without a base to return to for reference.

Lyrical in spades, Williams’ script is solid, and toys with language in an inspiring manner which drives much of the production’s emotion. There’s a danger in the central performance in the way Williams conduct themselves which accelerates the characterisation and adds a much needed discomfort. Playing with reflections, interpretations of the character ripple in the audience’s mind, a delightful audio design aids in parts, but cannot save many of the uncorrelated visual choices.

The editing for Haunted takes two opposing paths, occasionally reinforcing the unhinged nature of deterioration in its striking angle work and reflective play. Disappointingly, many of the production’s shots are simplistic, struggle with quality and occasionally detract from the overall focus. William’s presence alone is enough to ensnare viewers, and there’s an evident fear that the aesthetic must reflect the tone – a decision which ultimately works to Haunted’s disadvantage.

 

Haunted can be streamed online via The Space Online’s YouTube channel here until the 30th August