New Apollo’s Halloween Horrors at New Theatre Royal, Portsmouth and the Square Tower, Old Portsmouth

New Apollo present their annual double bill of Halloween Horrors. This year it is The Haunting of Walnut Tree House and The Ash Tree (pictured). Picture: kennyimageshiuk.com
New Apollo present their annual double bill of Halloween Horrors. This year it is The Haunting of Walnut Tree House and The Ash Tree (pictured). Picture: kennyimageshiuk.com
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It’s a spooky tradition that the New Apollo theatre company has established over the past few years.

So if you visit New Theatre Royal on Wednesday or the Square Tower next Saturday or Sunday, be prepared to be scared as they present a double bill of Halloween Horrors.

After the trial, Sir Matthew’s blackened corpse is found in his bed

Peter McCrohon has adapted for the stage two short stories of the Gothic genre, both with a ghostly theme – and an arboreal one. The result is The Ash Tree and The Haunting of Walnut Tree House, two pieces lasting approximately half-an-hour.

Set in the Victorian era, The Haunting of Walnut Tree House tells the tale of Edgar Stainton, an Australian who made his fortune in the gold fields. He is invited to England to claim an inheritance – the titular house.

But the building has a scandalous past, and a presence that drove the previous owner mad. What is the house’s secret?

The Ash Tree’s prologue is set in the 17th century, and starts with the witchcraft trial of Mistress Mothersole, presided over by Reverend Crome and Sir Matthew Fell.

The defendant speaks only to say ‘there will be guests at the hall’, and after the trial Sir Matthew’s blackened corpse is found in his bed.

One hundred years later, William Crome, the grandson of Rev Crome, returns to the Fell estate, now owned by Sir Richard Fell, to discover what happened.

Sir Richard’s cows are being killed by a mysterious blight and he chooses to stay in a different bedroom – whose window is right next to the branches of the estate’s old ash tree...

The New Theatre Royal show starts at 7.30pm, The Square Tower runs from 8pm.

Tickets: £10, visit newtheatreroyal.com or call (023) 9264 9000 for New Theatre Royal tickets and call (023) 9273 6288 or visit outsiderartistsinc.com for Square Tower tickets.