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What the Butler Saw

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Summer Term ’24: Make Your Mark Xtra

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Oye Santana

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Money For Nothing

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Rhythm of the Dance – 25th Anniversary

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Here You Come Again – The New Dolly Parton Musical

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Legend: The Music of Bob Marley

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Kinds of Kindness (18)

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Summer Term ’24: Make Your Mark

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Summer Term ’24: The Big Jig

NT Live: Present Laughter

Tony Blackburn: Sounds of the 60’s Live

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Fly Me To The Moon (12A)

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Summer Term ’24: Gentle Dance

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The Real Ken Dodd, The Man I Loved

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Whistle and I’ll Come to You

12th December 2023 - 13th December 2023

 

Whistle and I’ll Come to You

A Ghost Story by M. R. James

‘He saw quite clearly for a moment a vision of a wide, dark expanse at night, with a fresh wind blowing, and in the midst a lonely figure’

From the finest writer of the ghost story genre, M. R. James’s Oh Whistle and I’ll Come to You, My Lad tells the tale of a young professor who, whilst walking in an English coastal village, stumbles upon a strange whistle. When blown, this sets in motion a chain of unexpected events …

In this one-man performance, Toby Burchell takes us through this chilling tale, which is recognized as one of James’s greatest ghost stories. Originally narrated by James himself as a Christmas entertainment for friends, ‘Oh Whistle and I’ll Come To You, My Lad’ is the perfect ghost story for the festive season.

Price includes mulled wine and mince pies after the performance

Proceeds in support of the Malvern Theatres Tomorrow Campaign

Details

Start:
12th December 2023
End:
13th December 2023
Event Categories:
,

Venue

Studio One

Other

Price:
Tickets £14, to include mulled wine and mince pies after the performance
Proceeds in support of the Malvern Theatres Tomorrow Campaign
Bronze discount applies
Price includes 12% booking fee
Show Times:
Tuesday 12th and Wednesday 13th December
Evenings at 7pm
Wednesday matinee at 2pm

Event Reviews

  • The View from the Stalls

    A cleverly-adapted Ghost story for Christmas.

    Christmas. A time for joy, family fun and, of course, panto.
    But also the perfect time for the odd Ghost Story or two. And so it is that, just prior to the official start of the panto Cinderella on Thursday, we get the extra treat of Whistle and I'll Come to You. Based on the story by M. R. James (originally entitled "Oh, Whistle, and I'll Come to You, My Lad" from his "Ghost Stories of an Antiquary" collection), this is very much a one-man project. Toby Burchill adapted the 55-minute performance from the book, stars in it taking all the parts, designed the set and staging - and his reward? A satisfyingly full house for the first performance using the Studio One's flexibility to create a 3-sided auditorium which only increases the attention the actor must pay to those watching.

    The story itself revolves around a young professor who is headed for a golfing holiday but is side-tracked by a colleague to investigate an archaeological site where he discovers an ancient bronze whistle which becomes the basis of the supernatural happenings which follow, involving spectres, unexplained noises, a strange figure on the beach and apparitions in his hotel room's empty bed. Creepy stuff, convincingly relayed to the audience by Toby who makes subtle but noticeable changes for each character he portrayed.

    There have been a couple of BBC adaptations of the story - a version from 1968 directed by Jonathan Miller and starring Michael Horden and Ambrose Coghill and a further version from 2010 with John Hurt, Gemma Jones and Lesley Sharp (the latter will be screened as a Christmas night treat on Talking Pictures TV). Neither of these, however, were brave enough to attempt it as a one-person performance (in the way it was originally narrated by James himself as a Christmas entertainment for friends), so well done Toby for giving us this early Christmas short-but-sweet scary treat!

  • Fairy Powered Productions - Courie Amado Juneau

    An M.R. James ghost story at Christmas time? Perfect! Even better that it was another chance to experience live theatre at the wonderful Malvern Theatres, this time at the smallest of their venue spaces, Studio One.

    “Oh, Whistle and I’ll Come to You, My Lad” was first published in 1904 in James’s “Ghost Stories of an Antiquary” collection and is one of the author’s most celebrated tales. The story concerns a professor who, whilst on a golfing holiday in a fictional coastal village, finds a whistle which when blown brings forth more than he bargained for.

    The set was inventively dressed with a bed and some cryptic looking sheets – what secrets did they hide? Stark in nature and perfectly pitched for this spooky work since it focused the attention on the solitary actor – Toby Burchell.

    Toby commanded the stage in a riveting solo performance that was nothing less than compelling. It must be the hardest of acting jobs to be out there on your own, with no support and no-one to bounce off. If you forget a line you don’t have the backup of another actor to prompt you or for them to feed you your next line; you really have to know your material inside out and deliver it flawlessly. Toby did this with ease in a performance that was assured and confident. A most impressive feat – especially with such an intricately wordy script.

    Toby used his physicality to great effect; for instance with a rather effective trip over some imaginary obstacle. I also loved his ability to seamlessly morph from one character to another very different one with just a subtle shift in posture, movement or vocal inflection!

    A lot was made from the scant props: a suitcase to signify travel, a scarf to signify leaving his hotel room and of course the whistle itself. Just enough to convey the full flow of the story and keep the concentration on Toby’s performance. The use of lighting was also impressive – changing the mood from one location to another and conveying the time of day to great effect. But the most awe inspiring moment was when our protagonist was recounting a shadowy apparition whilst (with perfect timing) the lights shifted and Toby’s shadow was cast, large, on the rear wall. Sound effects were also used to push the drama along and set the scene, just like in all good horror films.

    It was wonderful to see such a full house, everyone enjoying a free mince pie and glass of mulled wine after the show (the proceeds of which going towards a very good cause; the Malvern Theatres Tomorrow Campaign).

    We are lucky to have such talented actors gracing the stage here at Malvern. If there is any justice, Toby is destined for stardom so I encourage everyone to catch him here in Malvern while you still have the chance! A triumph in every area and in every way and an enormously deserved “well done that man and everyone else involved in the production” from me. As Dickens continued popularity proves, everyone loves a seasonal ghost story and this was an exceptionally entertaining one that I have no hesitation in wholeheartedly recommending.

  • Kate

    Thoroughly enjoyed Toby's monolgue and acting skills. He kept the audience enthralled for nearly an hour. I hope he is very successful in his career. I look forward to seeing him in future productions.