Isaac Theatre Royal, The Gloucester Room, Christchurch

24/03/2016 - 26/03/2016

Oamaru Opera House - Inkbox, Oamaru

18/11/2016 - 19/11/2016

Production Details

Imaginative stage version of famous ghost story  

NO Productions Theatre Collective presents Jeffrey Hatcher’s (scriptwriter for Casanova, Stage Beauty, Mr Holmes) stage rendering of Henry James’s classic ghost story.

Dark, intense and powerful, this show will immerse the Christchurch audience into the world of a 19th century English manor house filled with mystery and eerie suspense… And there is no better setting for it than the intimate Gloucester Room at the iconic Isaac Theatre Royal in Christchurch! Three shows only will be performed on 24-26 March, 8pm (Easter Weekend).

Imaginative staging of ghost stories has become something of a speciality for NO Productions Theatre Collective: the Christchurch audience might recall two previous immersive Gothic-themed productions performed at Ferrymead Heritage Park in 2014 and 2015.

“Ghost stories are not easy to stage,” says Nataliya Oryshchuk, founder of the small independent theatre. “One needs to create a very particular mood and atmosphere, taking your audience on a journey ‘with’ you, rather than just entertaining them with a spectacle. The audience need to become part of the story, participating in the creative process.”

Turn of the Screw is perfect material for an intimate theatrical ghost story. A young governess journeys to a lonely English mansion to care for two recently orphaned children. But she is not their first governess… and very soon she realises that something is very wrong.  

Altogether, the story involves six real characters and two ghosts (are they real? We don’t know). Jeffrey Hatcher’s inventive adaptation is written for two actors only: in the Christchurch version, the female actor (Nataliya Oryshchuk) plays the Governess, while the male actor (David Allen) plays all other characters. Michael Adams (well known by local theatre audiences) is the director and lighting designer of this production.

The show is part of the Isaac Theatre Royal’s ‘Gloucester Room Sessions’ that support local artists through the ASB Performing Arts Community Grant and Creative New Zealand funding. 

Due to the nature of the show, PG 13 is recommended.

Isaac Theatre Royal Gloucester Room
24-26 March, 8pm
Tickets: $27 waged/$23 concession.

Intriguing ghost story comes to Oamaru Heritage Festival 2016

After a sold-out season at the Isaac Theatre Royal, NO Productions Theatre bring their acclaimed Victorian ghost story show to Oamaru Heritage Festival. Dark, intense and powerful, this staging of Henry James’s classic story will immerse the audience into the world of a 19th century English manor house filled with mystery and eerie suspense… And the intimate space of the Inkbox at Oamaru Opera House is the perfect setting for it.

Two shows only will be performed on
Friday 18 November at 7.30pm and
Saturday 19 November at 6.30pm.
Duration: 1 hour 20 min
Tickets: Adults: $25 (+ service fees) Seniors/Students: $20 (+ service fees)
Book at the Opera House, 90 Thames Street or on Ticket Direct.

The troupe is very excited to be bringing their ghost story to the Oamaru Victorian Heritage Celebration 2016 with the support from the Creative Communities Scheme. 

David Allen (The Man) 
Nataliya Oryshchuk (The Woman)

Director: Michael Adams

Producer: Nataliya Oryshchuk 

Theatre ,

1 hr 20 mins

Unexpected turns leave you wondering

Review by Theresa Koorey 19th Nov 2016

Waiting in the foyer of the Oamaru Opera House, surrounded by plenty of patrons in traditional Victorian dress, I might be forgiven for thinking that I was actually in 1872. It is after all Victorian Heritage week. We are then swiftly transported down the narrow passageway to the Inkbox theatre, a perfect space to fill with this play as its subtleties would have been lost otherwise, and we sit down ready to take in our surroundings.

What there is to take in is minimal. Two actors appear completely still on stage, and a music box plays the dulcet tones of a lullaby. The male actor (David Allen) sits upon a plush red chair, whilst the female (Nataliya Oryshchuk) stands on the top of four steps, her back to us. This is the entirety of the set. It is all that is required. As the last of the theatregoers are seated, the tone changes somewhat; the lullaby starts to distort and crack and the eerie feeling is established. The transformation into ghostly 1872 is complete.

The characters are listed simply as The Man and The Woman. Oryshchuk plays one character throughout, a young governess, whilst Allen plays the remainder of the characters. It is a testament to Allen’s acting that although playing several characters of various ages and genders, you are never confused as to which is before you. Allen’s use of voice, facial expression and changes in body and gesture make you believe he is equally an older housekeeper as well as a 10 year old boy. Clever use of the chair and facing the curtain for a few seconds allows Allen to reset and immediately return as another character expertly, and seemingly effortlessly.

Turn of the Screw has the feel of a radio play. Without elaborate set and no props other than the two aforementioned, you are invited to create the scenery and the whole world of Bly House. I have vivid images in my head of the nursery, the tower and of the garden and lake. This minimal approach works far better than if they had attempted to fabricate a set for us. Instead, each theatregoer is allowed, as in a radio play, or a book, to create the worlds themselves.

The basic premise of the play is simple. Two children became orphans a year earlier and they are bestowed upon their disinterested and bachelor uncle. He seeks out a governess to replace their previous one, who has gone away in mysterious circumstances. After appointing her, he wishes to have no more contact and leaves her to her own devices. She is to care for the children in a house some distance away that he never visits.

The governess is immediately taken by the grand surroundings of Bly House and strikes up a friendship with the housekeeper, Mrs Grose. She also befriends little Flora who hasn’t spoken since her previous governess Miss Jessel ‘went away’. It turns out that ghosts are among the residents of the estate and the governess will do anything to protect the children.

Oryshchuk, as the governess, proves to be very capable of the task at hand. With an accent that sounds Russian or thereabouts, this adds a dimension to the character, and a mysterious element of how she came to London in the first place. A tough childhood is hinted at which immediately warms you towards this innocent, seemingly naive young woman. The character gains in intensity throughout the play, as you start to question who to trust and whose truth is the real one. Oryshchuk expertly provides the warmth, strength and intensity the character requires.

The tone of the play is unsettling, particularly with the character of 10 year old Miles, who is an obedient boy, and loving to his young sister. Allen’s portrayal of him has a sinister edge as the audience is told he has been expelled from his boarding school for an unspecified reason, but it also shows him as a sweet, perhaps misunderstood young child. He is scared and the power dynamic between him and his governess grows and grows until it explodes in an unexpected way.

This play will have you thinking well after it has finished. Who was truly in control? What actually happened during that week at Bly house? The themes of innocence, control, possession and abandonment, as well as good versus evil, run throughout the play and characters, each of them changing and showcasing different elements.

This is not a ‘feel good’ play. In places, it is downright unsettling. That is not to say that there is no humour. Comedic lines are delivered with timing and precision. It is thought-provoking play that keeps unravelling as it reveals new and unexpected turns. As the audience, you are involved and engaged the whole time, yet equally unsure of where this will lead.

Turn of the Screw leaves you wondering at the end: who was actually in control and who was actually turning the screw?


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Undeniably intriguing

Review by Lindsay Clark 25th Mar 2016

To describe this subtly crafted tale as a ghost story runs the risk of understatement, for both the original novella, published in 1898 and this adaptation for stage keep us guessing and cogitating in a way which goes well beyond a simple tale of the supernatural. Since all is relayed to us from someone who heard it from the young governess at the heart of a deeply unsettling experience, and since she herself spends most of her time trying to establish what really happened, there is a veil of tantalising uncertainty over the whole account.

Young, romantic, determined to be courageous and assertive in the manner of heroines of the time, she is charged with the care of Miles and Flora by their singularly mysterious and creepy uncle, who is not to be contacted further. The children, living in his remote country mansion, seem at first to be models of all that is adorable, although the lad has been expelled from his school and the lass is strangely mute. As the governess strives to become an affectionate carer, her authority and composure are undermined by hints of a terrible recent past involving the children, their former governess, Miss Jessel, and the valet Peter Quint. Although deceased, their presence is everywhere.

It is her determination to face down the horrors of their contamination of her charges and their apparitions, which seem still to be laying claim to Miles and Flora which fuels the darkly Gothic tale.

The production overcomes the challenges of location and spectres by allowing the masterly subtlety of James’s writing and the compelling intensity of two strong actors to work their spell.

In the intimate space of The Gloucester Room, there is a small, raised platform furnished only by a chair and a set of steps. It is the conviction and fine detailing of Nataliya Oryshchuk as The Woman (the governess) and David Allen as The Man (and a clutch of splendidly differentiated characters) which provide a riveting experience.

Under intelligent direction from Michael Adams, the pair ensure that momentum through seven haunted days and nights is never lost, building to a startling conclusion. Except that we are still left with teasing doubts about that governess and the original narrator for that matter. The art of suggestion is stamped all over this production, with undeniably intriguing effect.


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