Best described as a ghost story set in Victorian Exeter, ‘One for Sorrow’ depicts Thomas Flay, a textile merchant at a time when textiles made Exeter one of the most significant cities in England. When his wife disappears on their wedding day, he searches in vain. But the real main character is Ignatius, Thomas’ brother, portrayed by Midge Mullin who expertly drives us to the horrifying conclusion. The mystery and suspense of the ghost story are easily the most enjoyable aspects of the play, and those really need to be discovered in person.
The mystery and suspense of the ghost story are easily the most enjoyable aspects of the play
Staging a play in a historical building such as St Nicholas’ Priory gave the company lots of options to create an appropriately spooky atmosphere, and they are successful – even the lobby, in fact a chamber of the Priory, is frightening, where they are led up to the Priory’s Great Hall as a group. The Great Hall remains relatively mysterious to us, which helps create suspense.
The play is at its best when it integrates its setting in subtly small ways – the flicker of a candle, for example. These evoke the sense of history that the building is steeped in. References to the Exeter area remind us of the love for the play, and since parts of the play are set in the Priory, we truly feel that we’re having a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
we truly feel that we’re having a once-in-a-lifetime experience
The use of imagery and song, too – “one for sorrow” reflecting the nursery rhyme – appropriately reflect the period setting and the spooky material.
My only complaint, really, is that I would have liked to stay longer – the play lasts about an hour and I would really have liked to spend a little more time enjoying it.