The company behind lockdown productions of Sebastian Faulks’s Birdsong Online, Louise Coulthard’s Watching Rosie and the new commission by Torben Betts, Apollo 13: The Dark Side of The Moon have announced its fourth online production.

Adapted from the M.R James short story The Experiment, Philip Franks has created the supernatural thriller The Haunting of Alice Bowles.

Available to watch through the Original Theatre Online website from the 17th December until the 28th February 2021, The Haunting of Alice Bowles is to be co-directed by Philip Franks and Alastair Whatley.

In 1918, the recently widowed Alice Bowles is left destitute as she seeks to solve a mystery left by her late husband Francis.  Moving to 2020, YouTube urban explorers Matt and Caitlin uncover a mysterious grave in an abandoned churchyard.  What starts as harmless entertainment soon turns darker when their discovery begins to unwrap a mystery which has lain dormant for over a century.  

The production is set to star Janie Dee (Follies, Comic Potential, Carousel) as Alice, Max Bowden (EastEnders, Waterloo Road, Birdsong) as Matt, Stephen Boxer (The Crown, Humans, Garrow’s Law, countless productions for the RSC and National Theatre) as Dr Hall, Jack Archer (Monogamy, Quaint Honour, Nivelli’s War) as Joseph, Alexandra Guelff (Witness for the Prosecution, The Habit of Art) as Caitlin, Robert Mountford (Holby City, North Square, The Habit of Art) as the Lawyer, Poppy Roe (A Serial Killer’s Guide to Life, Royal Matchmaker) as Mrs Ivey and Tim Treloar (Birdsong, King Lear) as the Boatman.

Talking about the news, Philip Franks said: “I’ve loved M. R. James ever since I was terrified by ‘Whistle and I’ll Come To You’ on the BBC in 1968.  A series of brilliantly subtle and scary adaptations of his ghost stories were a highlight of Christmas viewing for many years.  Now it’s my turn.  I’ve taken a very short story of his – as far as I know never dramatised before – and given it a modern twist for our troubled times.  I hope audiences find it pleasurably terrifying.”

The creative team for the production will include: designs by Adrian Linford and editing by Tristan Shepherd, with sound design and original music composed by Max Pappenheim.

The Haunting of Alice Bowles will be available to watch from the 17th December until the 28th February 2021. To book tickets visit: https://originaltheatreonline.com/