News: Janie Dee, Max Bowden and Stephen Boxer star in new supernatural thriller

Original Theatre Company, the production company behind the critically acclaimed lockdown productions of Sebastian Faulks’s Birdsong Online, Louise Coulthard’s Watching Rosie and the new commission by Torben Betts, Apollo 13: The Dark Side of The Moon, is delighted to present its fourth original online production since theatres were closed by the Government in March this year. The Haunting of Alice Bowles is a new supernatural thriller by Philip Franks adapted for the first time from the M.R. James chilling short ghost story, The Experiment.

In 1918, the recently widowed Alice Bowles is left destitute as she seeks to solve a mystery left by her late husband Francis. Moving to 2020, YouTube urban explorers Matt and Caitlin uncover a mysterious grave in an abandoned churchyard. What starts as harmless entertainment soon turns darker when their discovery begins to unwrap a mystery which has lain dormant for over a century.

Philip Franks said: “I’ve loved M. R. James ever since I was terrified by ‘Whistle and I’ll Come To You’ on the BBC in 1968. A series of brilliantly subtle and scary adaptations of his ghost stories were a highlight of Christmas viewing for many years. Now it’s my turn. I’ve taken a very short story of his – as far as I know never dramatised before – and given it a modern twist for our troubled times. I hope audiences find it pleasurably terrifying.”

The Haunting of Alice Bowles stars Janie Dee (Follies, Comic Potential, Carousel) as Alice, Max Bowden (EastEnders, Waterloo Road, Birdsong) as Matt, Stephen Boxer (The Crown, Humans, Garrow’s Law, countless productions for the RSC and National Theatre) as Dr Hall, Jack Archer (Monogamy, Quaint Honour, Nivelli’s War) as Joseph, Alexandra Guelff (Witness for the Prosecution, The Habit of Art) as Caitlin, Robert Mountford (Holby City, North Square, The Habit of Art) as the Lawyer, Poppy Roe (A Serial Killer’s Guide to Life, Royal Matchmaker) as Mrs Ivey and Tim Treloar (Birdsong, King Lear) as the Boatman.

Alastair Whatley, Artistic Director of Original Theatre Company, said: “It’s a real pleasure to be announcing our fourth major project for Original Theatre Online. Philip Franks’s brand new adaptation provides a new twist on a classic ghost story in time for Christmas. The Haunting of Alice Bowles continues our work innovating a new form of creating and sharing work online, a cine-theatrical event for dark December nights.

“We were all relieved to be awarded funding from the Culture Recovery Fund announced last week. We are already putting that investment to work – as we continue to make and develop work for stages both digital and live over the coming months.”

The Haunting of Alice Bowles will be co-directed by Philip Franks and Alastair Whatley, designed by Adrian Linford and edited by Tristan Shepherd, with sound design and original music composed by Max Pappenheim.

The online production of The Haunting of Alice Bowles is produced by Original Theatre Company.

The Haunting of Alice Bowles will be available to watch via originaltheatreonline.com from 7.30pm on 17 December 2020 until 28 February 2021.

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