Tag Archives: Daniel Thackeray

Review – The Haunting of Blaine Manor – 4 Stars


The Haunting of Blaine Manor

The Old Red Lion Theatre

Reviewed – 4th November 2017



“The twists and turns of this piece completely took me by surprise and I adored it”


The Haunting of Blaine Manor was the last show I went to see as part of the London Horror Festival, the showcase for horror and spooky plays that has been running for the last three weeks at the Old Red Lion Theatre. A festival I thoroughly enjoyed and can’t wait to see again next year. This piece, alongside the festival, has given me a taste for scarier theatre and I look forward to watching more plays like it soon.

The script was brilliant, the storyline, the characters and the style in which it was written really engrossed me from beginning to end. This  two hour beauty whizzed past before my eyes. I was so connected to the action on stage and the characters’ stories. I really commend Joe O’Byrne as the writer and director of this piece. The twists and turns completely took me by surprise and I adored it. I was incredibly excited by it all.

Throughout this festival I have seen how different productions dress and utilise the theatre space and I have to say the set design for the Haunting of Blaine Manor was by far the most detailed. It really allowed for the audience to immerse into the production. Of course, the cast too must be commended on putting on a fantastic performance, together working really well. There were points that lacked a bit of energy but these were few and far between and didn’t hinder the production.

Andrew Yates as the psychic Cairo was fantastic. He truly committed to the character adding little nuanced moments  throughout. His German accent was spot on and added a different and mystic feel. He was one of my favourites in the play. Likewise, I also enjoyed Peter Slater’s performance as the protagonist Roy, an American paranormal debunker, an interesting character who takes you on a journey. However, there were key moments that I feel Slater didn’t give the nuanced performance it required to really hone in the right effect on the audience. Nevertheless, I still really enjoyed watching him on stage.

The whole cast really bounced off each other. I loved Jo Haydock’s performance of Vivian, particularly her interaction with Peter Slater. Her character was really interestingly written as to what she represents within the play as a whole. There were moments that I wanted a bit more nuance and thought, but I still bought into her character thoroughout.

Undoubtedly Phil Dennison as Scarabus was a joy to watch on stage, adding to the brilliance of the show. I really enjoyed his character and Phil had some phenomenal moments. On a similar note, Daniel Thackeray gave a very interesting performance as Vincent. At first there was something about it that jarred with me, but then I started to really get into his performance. In all honesty, each and every character on that stage was unique and intriguing in their own right.

The Haunting of Blaine Manor is a roller coaster ride of a show that many would enjoy watching – I cannot recommend it enough.


Reviewed by Daniel Correia

Photography Shay Rowan



was part of the London Horror Festival

at The Old Red Lion Theatre




Click here to see a list of the latest reviews on thespyinthestalls.com

Review of The Dead, Live – 1 Star


The Dead, Live

The Old Red Lion Theatre

Reviewed – 22nd October 2017



“needs reworking and restructuring for it to have the effect it should”


Oh, where to start…

I will open by stating that The Dead, Live was really not my cup of tea. There were moments that were really enjoyable and began to grip me but these were few and far between; little glimpses of hope for this tragedy.

Daniel Thackeray had many good ideas for this production and I really enjoyed the key themes that the piece began to explore. However, I feel as though the play’s structure was a disservice to the potential of this piece. The way the play began ruined the rest of the performance. It wasn’t just Howard Whittock’s feeble opening and unnaturalistic acting. Whittock really struggled to deliver a convincing performance as Lawrence until he was performing the séance which was when he captivated me.

Personally, I wanted the séance to be the opening of the show because that would have completely changed the effect and impact on us as audience members. For me, the biggest issue with this production was that the writing lends itself to alienate the audience from the beginning. This makes us aware that we are in a theatre watching a performance. This felt very Brechtian in its nature, creating the verfremdungseffekt (or alienation technique) on the audience.

Whilst, I admire the exploration of doing ghost stories using a different structure it really does not work with this genre. Scarier theatre or theatre that aims to tell ghost stories works on heightening the emotions of the audience and immersing them in the world they see before them. This piece achieved the complete opposite making it a bit tedious to watch at times.

P H Fry’s sound design also didn’t help the piece, at times it actually jarred against the action on stage causing us to further distance ourselves. This especially happened when the badly chosen creepy voice came on; it needed to be something different, a bit deeper and more menacing – it did not incite any fear. This makes me question the impact and the effect the director Alex Shepley was aiming for as Fry’s creative collaborator and key visionary for the piece.

What I did enjoy was the casting of Anne Baron as the woman. She did lack a bit of truthfulness in her performance in the séance but she had a really creepy demeanour about her performance that worked really well.

Overall, The Dead, Live was a flavourless production with good parts but really needs reworking and restructuring for it to have the effect it should.

Reviewed by Daniel Correia



was part of the London Horror Festival

at The Old Red Lion Theatre




Click here to see a list of the latest reviews on thespyinthestalls.com