RoundPeg’s adaptation of The Turn of The Screw stays faithful to Henry James’s classic novella while managing to find creative ways to incorporate all the characters in this two-person production. The plot is centred around a young governess, played by Suzy Whitefield, and her diary entries which record the occurrences at the isolated home of Blye.
The narrative revolves around the two children she is in charge of. The lack of actual children in this production emphasises the eeriness of the story as we only have the governess’s version of events to inform us. Ambiguity is of course central to The Turn of the Screw and this uncertainty is what makes seeing it unfold in front of you so thrilling. In particular, the little girl Flora is depicted as mute and is not physically represented on the stage. Instead, there is an empty space which the characters are speaking and gesturing to, lending the play a slightly sinister atmosphere whilst emphasising the lack of communication skills held by this mysterious child.
The quality of the acting is where the excellence of this show lies. Suzy Whitefield masters the hysterical spiralling of the governess, from the excited and fanciful persona we meet at the start, to the paranoid and anxious young woman unable to grasp reality. Rik Grayson plays three different characters with absolute precision, switching roles with ease. As the old housekeeper, Mrs Grose, he provides a warm and humorous presence, emphasising the eeriness of the little boy Miles whose character Grayson also plays.
Overall this is a show worthy of attention and provides the Fringe audience with a fresh take on a classic work.