Radio review Transcript

BBC Radio Sussex With Allison Ferns and Jeff Thomson 

AF: So you went to see The Lovely Bones at the Yvonne Arnaud Theatre in Guildford. How was it?

JT: Switch on those five star lights.

AF: Yeah. I’ve heard it’s amazing.

JT: It is absolutely stunning! 

You can expect a lot from a play that’s attracted scriptures of “mesmerizing”, “moving”, “spellbinding”. Are they justified? Yes. I’m going to add compelling and chilling as well. Because this is a real creative achievement in my judgement. 


The theme unnerves me and I sat there and I was startled on occasions, which is wonderful when you’re sitting with 500 other people. 

A young teenage girl is kidnapped, molested and then callously murdered. But she watches the outcome and she becomes our narrator. So she doesn’t leave the stage...she becomes the narrator and what we SHARE rather than watch - what we share is loss, bewilderment, parental grief. And it was VERY involving. Because the cast go for the truth. It’s not an easy watch by any means; and you cannot sit back actually, Allison, to be entertained because you are expected to engage a lot of imagination because a lot of symbolism is on stage there.


There’s a huge mirror that traverses and tilts and it covers the backstage wall. And this gives an impression of reflections and distortions and shadows. And added to the gloomy lighting and the swirling mist (the haze on stage) it really does build up an atmosphere of unease and fear. 

But as I said it’s full of symbolism. You’ve got to actually understand that. And it took me back - well, I was going to say it took me back to the early Greek plays. I wasn’t there three thousand years ago! 

AF: are sure you weren’t there?

JT: There’s a semblance in the modern - in this production on stage of a chorus as such and you wanted that cathartic outcome ... you wanted some sort of conclusion here. 

AF: It was a very popular book. I mean I remember when it came out, it was kind of one of those books like everyone I knew seemed to be reading it. 

JT: Yeah. Yeah. It’s a gripping tale and it’s distasteful in many respects; simply because of its theme - you know-  of pedophelia. 

BUT. This production. I came out on an absolute high; that there were people still around that can achieve such excellence in performance. And I really really recommend it. Five stars MINIMUM. 

And it’s going to go to Chichester next week, so I hope Chichester will turn out. Guildford has been a little bit ...sort of ... you know, hesitant to go.


AF: Do you think it might be the subject matter, though? 


JT: It could well be.

AF: I think if you’re looking for a night out kind of thing - you know what I mean -  I think it could put people off, can’t  it? 

JT: I can say, you know, it’s a theatregoers piece, it really is. I mean, during the interval - (because you mill around) and then somebody said, “so what was all that salt on the stage in a square?” And I’m thinking, oh..can’t you get it? Can’t you understand that? I thought you could zip your mouth, just drink your wine and get on with it, you know. So you do have to engage your imagination. But once you’re there, I mean it’s frightening and I LOVED it. I mean it really is ... I was so proud to have seen it. 

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