Disturbing evening at His Majesty's Aberdeen

Taking what has become an iconic horror film of the 1970s and putting it on stage was always going to be controversial.

Wednesday, 20th November 2019, 1:10 pm
It shocked andhorrified the HMT audience, which was probably exactly what it meant to do.

The Exorcist, released in 1973, is a classic movie - from the first bar of Mike Oldfield's Tubular Bells to the spinning head and projectile vomiting. So could it really work as a stage production?

The Classic Screen to Stage Theatre Company certainly gave it their best shot at His Majesty's Theatre in Aberdeen on Tuesday night.

The story - frighteningly based on true events - tells the tale of a desperate mother who is seeking answers from a succession of doctors about her daughter's strange symptoms. She finally turns to the church for help and enlists the aid of a local priest, Father Damien, and begs for him to carry out an exorcism on her daughter.

The stage show started with a bang - literally - as the audience was plunged into darkness awaiting its fate as the simple, yet effective stage set took us through the journey of 12 year-old Regan who was possessed by an evil spirit named Captain Howdy.

It was definitely a slow burner, taking its time to build up to those well-known scenes of priest v devil in the child's bedroom. We were even treated to a bit of head spinning and vomiting. All that was missing was the music!

It shocked and horrified the HMT audience, which was probably exactly what it meant to do.

Playing the role of Regan was Susannah Egdley and she was helped along the way by Sir Ian McCellan who provided the voice of the evil entity in his own inimitable style.

Mention also must be made of Sophie Ward who played Regan's mum, Tristram Wymark, who plays Uncle Burke with aplomb and to Paul Nicholas as Father Merrin who is called in to conduct the exorcism.

I can't say I exactly enjoyed my night at the theatre....but it's one I'll certainly remember for a long, long time to come.

The Exorcist is on a His Majesty's until November 23. Tickets are available from aberdeenperformingarts.com or by calling the box office on -1224 641122.