Monday, 25 May, 2020

Review: The Exorcist, Regent Theatre

John Pielmeier’s stage version of William Peter Blatty’s classic controversial horror, The Exorcist, delivers a promising production that ensures jumps from the audience.

(c) TheOtherRichard
(c) TheOtherRichard

The Exorcist has arrived at the Regent Theare in Stoke and it offers the audience a truly scary experience as every breath and movement intensifies the experience of the horror you’re witnessing on stage.

Widely considered the scariest movie of all time, the film adaptation of The Exorcist sparked unprecedented worldwide controversy when it was released in cinemas in 1973. Winner of two Academy Awards, William Friedkin’s masterpiece saw audiences petrified to the point of passing out and went on to become one of the top ten highest grossing films of all time.

A snippet from the synopsis says “when the medical profession fails to provide answers to young Regan’s strange symptoms, her desperate mother Chris turns to a local priest for help. But before Father Damien can tackle what’s before him, he must overcome his own shaken beliefs, as this fight is for more than just one girl’s soul…”

(c) TheOtherRichard
(c) TheOtherRichard

The production comes direct from London’s West End, and is based on the best-selling novel by William Peter Blatty which is, erm… Inspired by true events.

The show featured national treasure and BAFTA Award Winner, Paul Nicholas (recognised for playing the role of Vince Pinner in the celebrated British sitcom Just Good Friends) who played Father Merin.

Alongside Paul, TV star Sophie Ward (best known for her roles in Holby City and Heartbeat) portrayed Chris MacNeil, and Ben Caplan (known for his time as Sgt. Peter Noakes in Call the Midwife), played Father Damien.

Susannah Edgley who starred in The Exorcist in the West End, blew us away with her representation of Regan MacNeil. The mixture of screens and projections helped to create the vision of a demon and the shadows that tormented the 12 year old girl.

(c) TheOtherRichard
(c) TheOtherRichard

The eerie and gothic two storey stage design was created by Anna Fleischle and featured dramatic and genuis lighting by Philip Gladwell which added the necessary tension to the frights the actors had in store.

The use of loud bangs (spoiler, especially at the start), and the blinding flashes of light directed into the audience’s eyes also helped build up tension.

Overall, The Exorcist at the Regent Theate provided a nerve-racking atmosphere from start to finish, and the cast and production team did an incredible job of recreating the 1971 book and iconic 1973 film. Go see it, and be very afraid.

Our review of The Exorcist is awarded 4 stars out of 5. ★★★★

Runs at Regent Theatre (Stoke) until Saturday, October 5.

Grab your tickets for The Exorcist in Stoke here.

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