The Enfield Haunting ★★ Ambassadors Theatre | Nov 30, 2023 - Mar 2, 2024

The Enfield Haunting is inspired by real events that took place during 1977-1978. A single mother finds that her home is inhabited by a poltergeist and one of her daughters is apparently possessed by a demonic spirit. The press has a field day and some investigators of paranormal activity move into her house to chronicle what is going on. It all sounds like promising fright-night entertainment, but unfortunately, it doesn't work. We enter the story in media res, and there is really no arc of development to the narrative. Writer Paul Unwin and Director Angus Jackson create some creepy moments, but there is not much story to hold onto. The closest we come to a plot is the revelation of why the sleuth of the supernatural, Maurice (convincingly played by David Threlfall) has taken on his mission. While Catherine Tate does a good job of creating the character of the mother, Peggy, and Ella Schrey-Yeats is convincing as the possessed daughter, Janet, there is no clear reason to become invested in these characters. The play runs just over an hour, but other than providing a few spooky moments, nothing much happens. Mother Peggy keeps insisting she wants everyone to go home, and the point of it all may be that she finally asserts her control over events, but that is far from clear. Actual experiences may have inspired The Enfield Haunting, but in this work, they have not been sufficiently reimagined and shaped to provide a fully satisfying dramatic offering.

Rated: ★★

Reviewed by J.C.
Photo by Marc Brenner

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