REVIEW: The Pit and the Pendulum at Worthing’s Connaught Theatre

A FAN of the Daleks, and having been missing them from Doctor Who recently, I felt it was some compensation to see Nicolas Briggs, who gives voice to the cybernetic creatures, live on stage in Worthing this week.

Even better, then, to find the play, The Pit and the Pendulum, at the Connaught Theatre, was far more gripping and far superior in terror to anything the Doctor has delivered this season.

But as good as Briggs is, it is Mark Homer on whom the whole play rests, as he takes us through his story of torture and torment.

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He held the entire audience in silence as they listened to his terrifying tale. This was not the place for a bag of sweets – in fact one rustled wrapper brought such a loud “shush” and murmur of discontent that no more followed.

The set is simple and the props minimal, so it is through his words and the images he creates that we feel the full horror of the situation. And Homer’s delivery is so powerful that most looked visibly shaken by the end.

Rumpus Theatre Company stunned us with The Nightmare Room at the Connaught last year, and this return confirms them as masters of horror.

The Pit and the Pendulum runs at Worthing’s Connaught Theatre until Saturday, September 24, at 7.30pm daily with a matinée today (Wednesday) at 2pm and Saturday at 2.30pm.

By Elaine Hammond.