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Review: Haunted Child

Royal Court Theatre, London SW1

    Julie (Sophie Okonedo) has been abandoned by her husband Douglas (Ben Daniels). Out of the blue, he turns up looking like he has been abducted by aliens. In a way, he has. He has fallen in with a religious group that believes in, among other things, celibacy, the discouragement of music, and reincarnation. Douglas's plan is to sell the house and return to the group with at least half the proceeds. Maybe Julie and his young son could come, too. That way, the group could get all the money.

    As a cautionary tale, Joe Penhall's offering serves more as chilling reminder than revelation. It is not clear if he is thinking about particular belief systems, such as Scientology. If it was clearer, the play might have felt riskier and more relevant. As it is, the spookiness of Jeremy Herrin's production cannot hide the fact that it says nothing new about the culture of cult.

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