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Richard Trinder
Editor
2:10 AM 26th February 2020

Upon The Stair At Harrogate Theatre

Upon the Stair is a classic horror storytelling in three parts - the sort that beguiles and intrigues and doesn't let you go until your thirst for a resolution has been slaked.

Adam Z Robinson and Raffie Julien. Photo by Barnaby Aldrick
Adam Z Robinson and Raffie Julien. Photo by Barnaby Aldrick
The three stories are about three lost souls bound to a cursed book - The Cry of the Bubák, Mirrorman and The Xylotheque - are all dark, gothic, ghostly tales told by writer/actor Adam Z Robinson, actor and BSL (British Sign Language) performer Raffie Julien and, on-stage with the actors, Chloë Hayward on violin, adding to the eerie soundtrack with music and sound effects.

VV or Vernacular Visual is a form of theatrical expression, expressing stories through strong body movements, iconic signs, gestures, and facial expressions.
Unlike many performances with BSL accompaniments, the sign language element is fully incorporated into the production, rather than a bolt-on. Going further than standard BSL, Raffie Julien does as excellent job of incorporating the style known as VV (Visual Vernacular). Its a wonderfully expressive way of conveying the storyline which adds life and colour to a part, going well beyond simply explaining the script. As a person without need of BSL I really enjoyed the almost balletic movements of VV. For me it enhanced the piece.

A spooky set of three stories that make a splendid evening out at the theatre.