Casting the Runes

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You’re invited to the edge of your seat…into the darkest corners of the night. Our advice? Don’t come alone…

Box Tale Soup are taking their puppet-based literary adaptation of M.R. James’ chilling supernatural thriller on tour, with puppets, set and props made using recycled materials. The two-hander pays homage to a writer considered the grandfather of British horror (inspiration for writers such as Susan Hill and Lovecraft), taking audiences on a ride through dark magic and intrigue, and further establishing the company as one of the go-to creators of classic Gothic theatre. Carefully crafted with tense original music, bespoke puppets, and a shape-shifting set, it follows the increasingly sinister haunting of an academic after he’s given some mysterious runes. The tour follows a hugely successful run at Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2023. 

Expert on the so-called supernatural, Edward Dunning, is a scholar and a sceptic. But when he crosses paths with the mysterious Mr. Karswell, his life becomes a waking nightmare. Haunted by something sinister at every turn, he must uncover the secret of the mysterious runes handed to him by Karswell, before his time runs out and the dark presence at his heels finally catches up with him... 

Writer Noel Byrne said “"Puppets have a natural magic and sense of otherworldliness. They can be charming of course, but they can also be unnerving and strange - often what we imagine is worse than what we see. This works to our advantage in Casting the Runes, a fantastic example of M.R. James’ skill in building tension and dread, creating an incredible atmosphere. It's a rollercoaster of a story, slowly ratcheting up and up until the inevitable final descent. We've just finished an amazing run at the Edinburgh Fringe, with sell-out crowds and wonderful reviews, so we can't wait to get the show out on tour and share it with audiences around the country!" 

Company information 

Director Adam Lenson, Writer Noel Byrne and Antonia Christophers, Set, props and costume design Noel Byrne and Antonia Christophers, Music Dan Melrose

Cast : Noel Byrne and Antonia Christophers   

Casting the Runes: 21 September – 25 November 

Further Information: Casting the Runes – Box Tale Soup