May 30, 2019
The Twilight Zone is an anthology television series that originally aired between 1959 and 1964, blending together various genres including fantasy, science fiction, suspense, horror and thriller. If that sounds like something you would enjoy watching then you are not alone because it has consistently been voted as one of the top television programmes of all time and Charlie Brooker cites it as a huge inspiration on Black Mirror.
Having debuted at the Almeida Theatre last year, The Twilight Zone arrived at the Ambassadors Theatre in the West End with eight stories to tell across two hours of entertainment. What more could you want? Giving guests a journey into the unknown, where the impossible is merely improbable and the extraordinary is ordinary, sit back and relax (if you can) as you are to be taken on a whirlwind of excitement.
The first thing to note about The Twilight Zone is just how wonderful the ensemble cast are. With each person taking on a number of roles throughout the play, it would be somewhat unfair to pinpoint one particular talent so suffice it to say that everybody is on top form here and it appears all are having the time of their lives on The Ambassadors Stage, which has been handily transformed with a star-studded backdrop of the night sky and too many entrances and exits to mention. Doors appear, they disappear, whirling signs warp you into the fold and amidst it all are Twilight Zone helpers putting everything together, occasionally lurking in the background of a scene as it plays out. The production design and choreography really is second to none and it was only as the play came to an end that we realised the entire production only uses costumes in a black to white colour tone.
As for the stories themselves, rather than play out in a linear fashion the tales jump about from scene to scene; at one point we are pondering who in the diner might be an alien before suddenly we are sitting with a man who cannot sleep for fear of what his dreams may do to him. It is mysterious and unpredictable in the best possible way even if sometimes the stories don’t reach a satisfying conclusion. For the most part though, you will enjoy the payoffs and there is always one more twist waiting around the corner or confusing cigarette to make you laugh (it will make sense once you're in your seat...)
The best bit? Undoubtedly a scene involving an air raid shelter that won’t fit each and every character before the missiles arrive. Unfortunately this is such a strong part of the play that the next ten minutes before the conclusion somewhat lack the same thrills. But hey, if that’s the worst that can be said for such an inventive and enjoyable production then that’s pretty good! Wonderfully weird, we highly recommend catching The Twilight Zone at the Ambassadors Theatre.
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By Henry Fosdike