The Curse of the Werewolf
Another Ken Hill riff on a popular title, in the same vein as his Phantom of the Opera which the company had performed the previous year. Werewolf was, I realise in retrospect, a terrific achievement for a rep theatre in terms of its visual style. It looked as if a Universal Studios picture from the 1930s had been translated to the stage. Even the blood was monochrome. The lighting was atmospheric, the sound effects carefully concocted so as not to be over-the top. I don’t know what Ken Hill made of it when he came to see it. My memory of seeing his work at the Theatre Royal, Stratford East when I was a teenager was that he favoured broad performances, with sets and costumes similarly inclined. But here, everything was controlled and tasteful in order to maintain the illusion of ‘live cinema.’ My musical responsibilities consisted of finding appropriately tactful music. Fortunately, I stumbled on an LP of Rachmaninov’s Isle of the Dead, which was perfect. It’s been a favourite of mine ever since. My onstage rôle, Ramsey, an eccentric who everyone thinks is the werewolf until he himself becomes a victim of the monster, was fun to do. It was particularly gratifying to get a proper acting part, free of having to be a musician. The cloud behind the silver lining was that there were no upcoming projects for me at the Duke’s Playhouse. At least I went out on a high,
When Werewolf closed, I bade goodbye to Lancaster after an 18-month association with the Duke’s. I remain very grateful for the opportunities and experiences I was afforded.