Touch of gothic horror

People just love their gothic horror, says John Goodrum, who brings his adaptation of The Pit And The Pendulum to Worthing’s Connaught Theatre from Tuesday, September 20 to Saturday, September 24.

Wednesday, 21st September 2011, 8:04 am

“It gives you a chance to experience your worst fears in a nice safe environment with an ice cream half-way through!”

The production comes from John’s Rumpus Theatre Company and was in fact - in a smaller form - their first touring show in 2000.

“We are now doing it on a larger scale. The original (Edgar Allen Poe) story is quite a dark, contained little thing where the victim is subjected to the tortures by the Spanish Inquisition in an unnamed location. It really concentrates on his experiences in this ghastly chamber with the pit in the middle and the pendulum coming down.

“To make it more into a play, it has been fun the expand it and give him a back story. I have expanded the whole situation.”

And he has also moved it from the Inquisition to early 19th century Cornwall: “I have brought it forward. I wanted it to be in a time more in popular memory but still far enough away to be romantic. I have set it around the time of the smugglers.

“The effects - the lighting and the sound - are very strong, very important and very striking, but the actual staging is relatively simple. The great thing about the story is that it is all delivered in words and it is all left to your imagination to visualise it. The hardest thing is to put that visualisation on stage.

“If you go to a horror film or to a thriller in the cinema, the reality and the goriness are splashed across the screen in front of you, but in a theatre you are in the same room as the action and that makes it more immediate and more creepy. You are there and it is going on in front of you!”

Mark Homer (EastEnders, Silent Witness) stars as William Trevelyan. He will be joined by Nicholas Briggs (The Sarah Jane Adventures, Adulthood) who is best known as the voice of the Daleks and Cybermen in BBC’s Doctor Who).