A Warning to the Curious and Lost Hearts: Two Ghost Stories by M.R. James (2010) DVD5
Two classic spine chillers from the master of the English ghost story, based on Nunkie Theatre Company’s thrilling stage show of the same name.

Lost Hearts features one of M R James's most memorable black magicians, the predatory scholar Mr. Abney. It is paired here with one of his most poignant and personal works, A Warning to the Curious in which a young archaeologist is haunted and hunted by the guardian of an ancient treasure.

The English seaside has never looked so menacing.

Performed by Robert Lloyd Parry

Reviews here: nunkie.co.uk/reviews_warning.html

DVD5 | PAL 16:9 | 00:45:27 + 00:29:16 | 3.21 Gb + 3% rec
Language: English
Subtitles: none
Genre: Performance

What better way to start the holiday season than with a candlelit evening in a cosy venue, listening to traditional ghost stories? Settle into your comfy velvet-covered seat and prepare yourself for the eerie wonders of M R James’ world, as chronicled by storyteller Robert Lloyd Parry.

Nunkie Theatre’s set design is simple yet effective: a small, sparsely furnished study, complete with leather armchair, small table carrying a heavy whisky decanter, a candlestick, and a pile of books or notes; in the corner, a small bookcase full of leather-bound books, their covers cracked with age. Our narrator walks in carrying a diminishing candle, which he uses to light the three candles on the candlestick before placing it next to him, thus creating an alcove of dimly lit comfort in the vast darkness of the stage.

Parry does not merely step into the role of storyteller but immerses himself in it, his performance far exceeding audience expectations. While you might have anticipated an evening of storytelling with Parry at the (arm)chair taking up the role of the author/narrator, you will be pleasantly surprised to see him become the character inside the story itself. His thoroughly absorbing performance carries you effortlessly away, to the foggy, foreboding countryside with its ancient secrets and menacing inhabitants.

Delivered in Parry’s hesitant, English schoolboy enunciation, M R James’s stories of shadowy characters hiding unspeakable evils come to shuddering life in the Rondo's intimate space. You can almost feel the chill enveloping the misty hillock in which the wretched Paxton (of the eponymous story) makes a discovery he soon regrets; you can almost hear the cold wind blowing across the grounds where monstrous arch-villain Mr Abney of ‘Lost Hearts’ dwells.

Nunkie’s simple, understated approach enables the stories to take centre stage, unhindered by the potential pitfalls of overproduction or overacting. A measure of the evening’s success, and testament to Parry’s talent is surely the fact that, after the lights come on, you realise that you would readily sit through two more stories. And two more after that...

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