In an age where social media, the internet and online gaming poses as much danger as it does pleasure, A Haunting explores the vulnerability we all face in this open and connected world. It shows how the people we meet online can be a lot closer than we believe them to be.
Fifteen-year-old Mark is left home alone while his parents follow their high-powered careers, he turns to online gaming where his only friend seems to be ‘Ghost’, an older man whom he has never met but shares uncomfortable conversations with. At first it seems like a clear-cut case of grooming, but Nathan Lucky-Wood’s short play has more than a few surprises in store for the audience.
Director, Jennifer Davis, has used clever staging for A Haunting, like Mark we only meet ‘Ghost’ halfway through the play, until then he is just a voice coming out of Mark’s headphones, building up the suspense and fear factor with each conversation. The venue, The Pit at Vault Festival, helps too, with its dark and eerie ambiance.
Jake Curran plays the role of ‘Ghost’, and plays it exceptionally well. He is able to make the character someone that we know we shouldn’t trust, but ultimately start to believe with each new piece of information thrown at us.
Izabella Urbanowicz plays Anna, the mother at the end of the phone, worried by her sons’ behaviour. It’s a lovely and touching performance that is easy to identify with.
Mark is played by Roly Botha, who displays the confidence and vulnerability of youth is equal measure, taking the audience on his journey and helping them to understand his confused feelings. Having only made his stage debut last year, Botha is already proving himself to be an extremely talented actor with a very promising future ahead.
A Haunting is a nail-biting seventy minutes of drama that has the audience perched precariously on the edge of their seats, illustrating that horror comes in many forms and that for many of us, that same horror could be just a mouse click away.