Previewed 5 December 2017, Opened 12 December 2017, Closed 27 January 2018 at the Almeida Theatre
Previewed 4 March 2019, Opened 8 March 2019, Closed 1 June 2019 at the Ambassadors Theatre
The West End transfer of Anne Washburn's stage adaptation of Rod Serling's The Twilight Zone in London - originally seen at the Almeida Theatre in North London
Stage adaptation of the classic television series The Twilight Zone.
Please note this production features strobe lighting. Suitable for ages 12 and above. Adapted for the stage by Anne Washburn from stories by Rod Serling, Charles Beaumont and Richard Matheson originally presented as part of the CBC 'The Twilight Zone' television series.
The West End cast at the Ambassadors Theatre features Oliver Alvin-Wilson, Alisha Bailey, Natasha J Barnes, Adrianna Bertola, Daniel Crossley, Dyfan Dwyfor, Neil Haigh, Nicholas Karimi, Lauren O'Neil, and Matthew Steer. Directed by Richard Jones with movement by Aletta Collins, sets by Paul Steinberg, costumes by Nicky Gillibrand, lighting by Mimi Jordan Sherin, illusions by Richard Wiseman and Will Houstoun, music and sound by Sarah Angliss, and sound by Christopher Shutt.
When this production opened here at the Ambassadors Theatre in London's West End, Dominic Maxwell in the Times explained that "it should be a blast. There are certainly plenty of moments to cherish in Richard Jones's playful production," the "cast are excellent; they get just the seriocomic tone required. Yet for all that skill, The Twilight Zone play comes to feel like a bad idea, well executed... Easy to admire, harder to care about, it's an evening less than the sum of its elegantly wonky parts." Claire Allfree in the Daily Telegraph highlighted that although it is "directed with flair by Richard Jones... stories lose momentum or conk out altogether, while fear itself is in short supply. Jones has also gone all out on style over content... The result is a show that feels oddly cheaper than the original - and weirdly unexciting." Henry Hitchings in the London Evening Standard commented that, "transferring to the West End after a run at the Almeida Theatre, it's a mix of tribute and pastiche. Director Richard Jones has some clever ideas about capturing the lo-fi atmosphere of the original, and visually it's a bold staging... but this interpretation, baffling more often than chilling, lacks momentum, focus and much sense of claustrophobia." Luke Jones in the Daily Mail said that "the result is charmingly odd... Some tales verge on the confusingly impressionistic. But, good grief, it's engaging."
This production was originally staged at North London's Almeida Theatre (previewed from 5 December 2017, opened on 12 December 2017 and closed on 27 January 2018) with a cast that featured Oliver Alvin-Wilson, Franc Ashman, Adrianna Bertola, Lizzy Connolly, Amy Griffiths, Neil Haigh, Cosmo Jarvis, John Marquez, Matthew Needham and Sam Swainsbury.
When this production was originally seen at the Almeida Theatre in North London in December 2017, Michael Billington in the Guardian commented: "I admired the inventiveness of Richard Jones's production: the big problem is that, while many of the stories explore the mysteries of the fourth dimension, the characters barely exist in two... the chief pleasure lies in the execution. Jones creates a whirling paranormal kaleidoscope with the aid of a first-rate team." Neil Norman in the Daily Express said "it is clear from the performances that this is more pastiche than a recreation and some of the cast seem to take it more seriously than others." Fiona Mountford in the London Evening Standard wrote that "theatre doesn't tend to do sci-fi, to explore that murky zone 'between science and superstition'. It's too challenging to stage, for one thing, but no such fears have put a brake on the energy, ambition and attainment of this terrific adaptation of stories from the eponymous classic 1960s American television series. It will delight fans of the original and welcome in newcomers too." Quentin Letts in the Daily Mail explained that "the show is done as a sendup, mocking the production values and narrative techniques of the TV original. Perhaps seeing it in a theatre - in the company of so many others - was never going to make it chilling. Without that factor, the story-telling loses its purchase." Ann Treneman in the Times described it as being "tribute theatre, essentially based on nostalgia. It's a bit like going to see a tribute band, but, at two and a half hours, longer... Tribute theatre is not, as you may have guessed, the deepest night out, but it is entertaining." Dominic Cavendish in the Daily Telegraph held that "the spinetingly theme-tune... is by far the most pulse-quickening aspect of a frustratingly maladroit evening... far from feeling creeped-out, I never once truly felt I had left my comfort zone." Ian Shuttleworth in the Financial Times thought "it raises smiles and chuckles at its quaintness, but no chills or musings."
"There's sleight of hand and there's sleight of design. This re-visioning of the cult TV series The Twilight Zone has both. It's frequently so drop-dead, black-and-white alluring that it's not hard to forgive its retro knowingness and sense of déjà vu... Before we know it, a man is avoiding sleep for fear of his dreams, while newspaper headlines about astronauts keep mysteriously changing and cigarettes smoke themselves. There's a lot of lo-fi sci-fi fun, though it's often too close to giggly send-up. The depiction of Cold War anxieties and inklings that 'all facts are fictions' could have been more deeply haunted by Trump's America, itself another dimension." The Sunday Times
"The theme music for the cult US Fifties/Sixties TV show is iconic on its own - now verbal shorthand for anything spooky or weird. And weird (with a touch of funky) this new stage adaptation by Anne Washburn certainly is, interweaving eight stories from the show... Richard Jones's production works best when there is a sense of knowingness (the multi-tasking cast wear a variety of dodgy wigs)... In truth, there's rather too much pace-dragging scenery-shifting by beings in boiler suits and goggles but this tribute to the power of imagination is quirky enough to transport you as swiftly as possible from The Christmas Zone." The Mail on Sunday
The Twilight Zone in London at the Ambassadors Theatre previewed from 4 March 2019, opened on 8 March 2019, and closed on 1 June 2019