Illustration by Paul Lowe

  
Photo by Ruth Horry

A PLEASING TERROR:
Two Ghost Stories by M.R. James


Performed by Robert Lloyd Parry on 3 March 2007
at the Tinahely Courthouse Arts Centre


Reviewed by Brian J. Showers, © March 2007
" . . . If any of my stories succeed in causing their readers to feel pleasantly uncomfortable when walking along a solitary road at nightfall, or sitting over a dying fire in the small hours, my purpose in writing them will have been attained . . ."
              -M.R. James, from Ghost Stories of an Antiquary
ON THE NIGHT I LEFT my south Dublin flat for a tiny theatre in the deepest, remotest part of County Wicklow, an orange, almost reddish, moon hung low in the sky just beyond the Rathmines clock tower, awaiting that night's lunar eclipse. As we travelled further into the rural countryside-with an entire mountain range between us and the nearest proper city-the roads narrowed, the trees and shrubbery crowded in on us, and a fog pressed itself like thin gauze across the low fields and valleys. From the safety of the car I wondered what I might encounter if I walked alone into any one of those mist-shrouded and presumably vacant fields. My spine tingled as it became apparent that this was a night perfectly suited for what M.R. James aptly termed in his landmark essay Some Remarks on Ghost Stories, "a pleasing terror".

For those who keep their ears firmly pressed to the unhallowed ground, the name Robert Lloyd Parry is not entirely unfamiliar. Since September 2006, Mr. Lloyd Parry, the sole member of the Nunkie Theatre Company, has toured England and Ireland with his much lauded, one-man show A Pleasing Terror: Two Ghost Stories by M.R. James. Christmas-time saw an impressive 20-date run at London's New End Theatre, and on the night of March 3rd, perhaps inexplicably, the show was booked for the Courthouse Arts Centre in rural Tinahely, Wicklow. On that night we had crossed the lonesome wild to see Lloyd Parry perform two of James's most celebrated stories: "Canon Alberic's Scrapbook" and "The Mezzotint". More...

This interview was first published in The Irish Journal of Gothic and Horror Studies, March 2007



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