The second play in the pair to be made available from Original Theatre is a ghost story set in the wilds of the Scottish Highlands. There is horrible weather, darkness, a traditional Ghillie, and no shop within easy walking distance.
Written by Ali Milles, The Croft takes a true story as inspiration and turns it into a chilling, atmospheric thriller with an eerie soundscape (by Max Pappenheim) and a sense of foreboding. This may be a 21st century holiday home for escaping lovers, but the weight of memory remains.
Cut off from the outside world without a phone signal or working electrics, Laura (Lucy Doyle) and Susie (Caroline Harker, who also plays Laura’s mother Ruth in another timeline), have to deal with their own fears and the atmosphere of spirits all around them.
Chris Davey’s lighting within Adrian Linford’s set helps to give each timeline its own identity, but I found Enid (the supposed 19th century witch, played by Gwen Taylor) a touch caricaturist, and Harker is far more convincing as Ruth than as Susie.
Grief in all its manifestations and the power of suggestion runs throughout Miles’s play, but it is only intermittently successful, such as the build up to the interval and a couple of times in the second half.
I liked the doubling up of roles between the small cast, which hinted at the human parallels between the different times and places, but ultimately this was a production which didn’t quite tick all the boxes for me.
The Croft is available to rent from Original Theatre for a small donation for one more week.
Photo credit for header image: Charlotte Graham.