Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

Ghost Writer: Dickens Gets Spooky on Stage ; the Haunting Will Chill You to the Bone, Writes Natalie Anglesey

Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

Ghost Writer: Dickens Gets Spooky on Stage ; the Haunting Will Chill You to the Bone, Writes Natalie Anglesey

Article excerpt

IN CELEBRATION of Charles Dickens' bi-centenary, Bill Kenwright presents Hugh Janes' chilling adaptation of the famous author's ghost stories under the title The Haunting.

It stars actor David Robb, best known as Dr Clarkson in the first two series of the award-winning, internationally acclaimed ITV drama series Downton Abbey.

He accepted The Haunting when friend and fellow actor Peter Bowles unfortunately had to drop out because of family illness.

"I'd only recently seen Peter at a party on the rain-soaked day of the Queen's Jubilee and he was telling me that it was a big role to learn as it's virtually a two-hander," David explains.

"Then when The Haunting first opened I was also filming the Downton Abbey Christmas special during the day and performing at night so it was a bit exhausting - but we're into our stride now and all is going well."

David has nothing but praise for James Roache, son of Coronation Street actor Bill Roache, making his professional stage debut in the play.

"James came fully prepared for rehearsals with total commitment and that's all you can ask. I've had no qualms at all about his ability and it helps that we get on well on a personal level." Originally destined for Sandhurst and the Scots Guards, David became an actor and his theatre credits include productions of Hamlet and King Lear at London's Almeida Theatre. He adds: "If I'm brutally honest I really prefer film and television as it's easy to become a bit of a zombie in long runs."

David's many other TV roles have seen him star in I Claudius, The Flame Trees of Thika and Monarch of the Glen. Films include the Academy award-winning Young Victoria and Elizabeth - The Golden Age. After this current tour ends he'll return to Downton for its highly anticipated third series this autumn. "I've known Julian Fellowes, who wrote it, for some time and when he asked me to play Dr Clarkson I didn't hesitate and haven't regretted it for one minute. Clarkson's not part of the family he's a bystander who can see both their strengths and their weaknesses. …

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