Georgian Theatre promises audiences unnerving experience

The Body Snatcher cast - l to r Zach Lee Elizabeth Hope Claire Burns and Alex Moran. Photo by Anthony Robling.

The Georgian Theatre Royal is promising audiences an unnerving theatrical experience to celebrate the Halloween season with its production of The Body Snatcher.

Inspired by Robert Louis Stevenson’s spinetingling story and brought bang up-to-date with live performances of songs by David Bowie and The Clash, the play is a dystopian thriller, shot through with humour.

It’s 50 years after Brexit and the country is fighting a mysterious disease.

In the remote town of Inglenook, a young scientist arrives to scenes of devastation – the streets are empty, the milk is sour and the dogs are howling day and night.

Haunted by his past, he knows that the future of this beleaguered country may lie in his hands. But he needs dead bodies to do his work, and he can’t work out why so many are turning up at his laboratory….

Stevenson’s tale took the notorious Burke and Hare murders of 1828 as its starting point.

These were a series of 16 killings over a period of ten months in Edinburgh where corpses were sold for dissection in anatomy lectures. A shortage of cadavers led to an increase in bodysnatching at this time and these particular murders have been the inspiration for many fictional works.

Multi-award-winning playwright, Ian Townsend, said: “I’ve always wanted to write a horror/thriller type of play and I really hope that The Body Snatcher will make audiences squirm with delight.

“As the dark nights draw in, it’s perfect for a spooky night out. No body is safe!”

The Body Snatcher is Thunder Road’s fifth co-production with Harrogate Theatre, an association which began in 2012 and has resulted in rave reviews, box office records and multiple awards.

Emma Ashton, whose work includes The Arbor (The Crucible) and Kissing Married Women (Hull Truck) directs Claire Burns, Elizabeth Hope, Zach Lee and Alex Moran, formerly of War Horse (National Theatre, playing David Taylor).

The production on November 1 at 7.30pm is supported by Arts Council England.