The Basement Tapes review: an eerie play guaranteed to get under your skin

The Basement Tapes. Picture: Supplied by Wells Maltings

The Basement Tapes. Picture: Supplied by Wells Maltings - Credit: Supplied by Wells Maltings

What sort of play was The Basement Tapes, performed at Wells Maltings Theatre on Wednesday (July 3) evening?

To quote from the flyer - 'Following her grandmother's death, a girl faces the overwhelming task of clearing out the belongings. Deep in the cramped, cluttered basement she discovers a series of mysterious tape recordings made by her grandmother. As she hears the tapes for the first time, things start to unravel.'

This is an eerie play guaranteed to get under your skin. The set: a dimly lit basement containing piles of cardboard cartons containing old clothing, ripped sheets, discarded and disused technology such as old telephones, LP records, radios which blare out static, and finally, a tape recorded with several tapes.

This actually works and it is the tapes which unsettle us as they fill us with a bloodthirsty tale, possible choices of truth and identity or reality, and ultimately, which if any, of these characters really existed.

The lighting and sound effects are designed to creep you out and this play is unsettling most of all, the performance by Stella Reid, a New Zealand actress with a powerful emotional range makes for a strong and strange experience.

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Written by this actress, together with Jane Yonge, Thomas Lambert and Oliver Morse, it is not surprising that it won big awards at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival last year.

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