When Darkness Falls ★★★★ Richmond Theatre | February 8 - 11, 2023

Thunder claps and lights suddenly black out! When Darkness Falls creates a suitably sinister atmosphere for the recounting of four supernatural tales set on the island of Guernsey. The plot seems simple: a historian, John, is recording a podcast with an unnamed guest. The speaker recounts a series of tales which date back several centuries and which all end in gruesome deaths. It is all terribly spooky and suggestive of the paranormal. The stories in When Darkness Falls have their roots in the history and folklore of Guernsey, and they are creatively woven into an enjoyable and eerie evening of theatre. Written by James Milton and Paul Morrissey (who also directs) the play does sometimes come off as rather cumbersome and the first act drags a little while the premise is set up. However, the second act has some clever twists that makes the time invested all worthwhile. We won't spoil the fun by revealing too much, but a little patience with the convoluted narratives is rewarded in the end. For us, the cluttered set of Justin Williams might have been pared down to allow the audience's imagination freer rein when the characters assume different personae and invoke other places. In fact, the actors' transition to other personae can sometimes be a bit unclear and somewhat confusing. Nevertheless, Tony Timberlake convincingly plays the skeptical historian who keeps asserting that he doesn't believe in ghosts. And as his interview subject, Thomas Dennis is fittingly enigmatic as he declaims Guernsey's haunting history. Dennis has his work cut out for him as he must strive to maintain the audience's attention while narrating long passages recounting the island's dark tales. All in all, this is a show that proves to be an entertaining journey into the world of the inexplicable, and it's a chilling reminder that when darkness falls strange things may happen!

Rated: ★★★★

Reviewed by J.C.
Photo by Pamela Raith.

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