Friday 10 January 2020

The Innocents

“I want to save the children, not destroy them...”

Based on the greatest of Victorian ghost stories – Henry James’ The Turn of the Screw – this is a play about a haunted mansion and a governess’s attempts to save the two orphaned children who inhabit it. Are the ghosts real or a figment of the imagination? Of those two possibilities, which is the most terrifying?

The show plays 9-11 and 15-18 January at 7.30pm, with a matinee on the final Saturday at 2.30pm. Book your tickets at St Georges Music Shop on 01603 626414, or online at

Photography: Sean Owen of Reflective Arts
"I saw the performance last night and was properly spooked!  I know the original Henry James story but had not seen this version before.  I thought it was a splendid play.The whole production was superb - set great as always and the quality of acting sustained and professional by all.  I loved how the tension was built up so quickly and then increased! My congratulations to everyone." Jill C

"I went to see The Innocents last night. There are already many great reviews for this fabulous production, the cast were superb, but Megan Artherton, that was a brilliant performance. If a Victorian ghost story is your cup of tea, then go and see this." David R

"I thought The Innocents was absolutely brilliant - please pass on my congratulations to director, cast and crew! The build-up of menace and suspense was superb, and I had the feeling that everything came together in that performance - the timing seemed to be spot-on, and I take my hat off to all four members of the speaking cast because the delivery was seemingly faultless. Wow, what a triumph!" Sue N

"Last night I had the pleasure of one last trip to the Sewell Barn Theatre (with some of my favourite people) to see their current production: The Innocents. I am so glad I did. It was a truly excellent evening of theatre. I don't want to give too much away as it really is worth going to see for yourself. The whole play was presented with such understanding of how to create an unsettling atmosphere that really draws you in and makes for an engrossing, unnerving and riveting production that you can't take your eyes off. A sparse but detailed set with some subtle changes in the second half to reflect the unravelling of Miss Giddens mental state. Fantastic use of lighting and sound that toys with the senses in the already atmospheric space that is the Barn. And then the actors themselves. The children were wonderfully creepy and the two ghosts genuinely menacing, ominous and not over played in the slightest. Gill Tichborne as the house keeper was a marvel but the final word must go to Megan Artherton as Miss Giddens. A masterful performance delivered with such humanity which had me transfixed throughout. I loved this show and suggest as many people go to see it as possible. I will certainly miss being part of this great Company in the future." Matt S

"Just been to see “The Innocents” @sewellbarn theatre. The perfect Victorian ghost story with a wonderfully engaging and often chilling cast. They don’t hold back! More performances to come. See their website for details. I’ll tell you more on Monday @BBCNorfolk. Sleep well." Stephen Bumfrey - BBC Radio Norfolk [via Twitter]

"Just been to see the chilling production of The Innocents at Sewell Barn. Megan Artherton - you expertly took me on a journey of emotion with your portrayal of this story, so natural was your performance that I felt every emotion with you. You lead the play with assurance and authority and so subtly and effectively built the suspense for the audience. I wanted to applaud after each of your scenes but couldn't because it would have ruined the atmosphere you had created!! I cannot begin to tell you how proud I am of you. There were so many complexities and layers that you brought to the character that even the most seasoned actresses would have struggled to have achieved. I was particularly impressed with the vulnerability you showed whilst also maintaining the characters natural reserve and restraint, something that is not easy to pull off. Congratulations and enjoy the rest of your run." Laura W

"This retelling of a classic Henry James tale is a menacing and suspenseful production, with more chills than the winter weather... The small cast is led by Megan Artherton as governess Miss Giddens. She puts in an exceptional performance, with her initial over-cheeriness giving way to mental and physical decline. Along with her the audience can never quite be sure whether the 'ghosts' are real, or part of her imagination; Artherton's tension and nervous exhaustion are palpable... This dark and provocative tale with an outstanding performance at its heart makes for a spooky winter treat." [Click here for full review.] James Goffin, EDP

"Congratulations to Richard Hand on a wonderful production of The Innocents at the Sewell Barn. He produces an atmosphere of approaching menace from the moment the audience arrives. Three excellent performances from the child, the maiden and the crone (in the pagan connotation of the word). An absolutely outstanding performance from Megan Artherton as the governess. We witnessed her mental deterioration palpably and painfully. Where does this actor come from? Superb! One little negative from me personally. I didn't like the Addams family portrayal of Quint. Otherwise, superb! Well, well done, everyone." David W

"Fantastic evening at @sewellbarn watching ‘The Innocents’ starring one of our very talented students, Freya! This brilliant production is not for the faint hearted!" Triple Threat Stage School