Skip to main content Skip to footer site map
Review: WICKIES: THE VANISHING MEN OF EILEAN MOR, Park Theatre

Review: WICKIES: THE VANISHING MEN OF EILEAN MOR, Park Theatre

This boutique paranormal thriller is a good alternative to the Christmas stories that traditionally haunt London at this time of year.

Review: WICKIES: THE VANISHING MEN OF EILEAN MOR, Park Theatre

On Boxing Day in 1900, a small boat was approaching the island of Eilean Mor in the Outer Hebrides with a relief keeper for the lighthouse. Unlike custom, nobody was waiting on the shore. The door was unlocked; food had been left seemingly abandoned, half-eaten; two coats were missing. All the clocks had stopped at the same time and there was no sign of the three men. An investigation ensued, with the isle searched thoroughly to no avail. The only clues they could go after were the last strange entries in the daily logbook, detailing their despair over an unreported storm.

Playwright Paul Morrissey explores a fascinating case, transforming it into a boutique paranormal thriller whilst trying to explain the lead-up to their disappearance. Directed by Shilpa T-Hyland, Wickies: The Vanishing Men of Eilean Mor is a good alternative to the Christmas stories that traditionally haunt London at this time of year. While the show falls into a few negligible lulls, it plays with tension well, adding a few tasteful jump-scares. It also paints a life-size picture of a now decayed profession and the effects it had on mental health.

Morrissey blends genres imperceptibly. The situational comedy that comes with the clash of the keepers' personalities becomes tense terror in the span of a breath. Designers Bethany Gupwell (lights) and Nik Paget-Tomlinson (sound) are crucial to the outcome. Niall Bailey's ominous, ghostly maritime composition accompanies the length of the production, influencing the reception of the story dramatically, while Gupwell's changes in hue and sharpness move it between the realms of reality and fantasy as the men recount their experiences in Zoe Hurwitz's kitchen.

Graeme Dalling, Jamie Quinn, and Ewan Stuart butt heads and sing sea shanties in this atmospheric slow burner. With the swish of a coat, they go from being the isolated trio to portraying the unfortunate seamen who discovered the empty tower and the officers who carried out the inquiry aided by Gupwell's spotlights. Dalling is the brash Donald Macarthur, who preys on the imagination of young Quinn's unweathered Occasional, Thomas Marshall, while Stuart's James Ducat, the Principal Keeper, diffuses the hostility.

Folkloric tales, boredom, and the extended confinement of its inhabitants have fed the tragic history of the lighthouse. A realistic explanation is given by Morrissey in an epilogue of sorts, but the supernatural suspicion he's instilled is too delicious to be placated with anything tangible. To this day, the mystery is unsolved. There's no rest for the wickies.

Wickies: : The Vanishing Men of Eilean Mor runs at the Park Theatre until 31 December.

Photo Credit: Pamela Raith



Review: IMAGINARY NATURAL BEINGS, VAULT Festival Photo
A vivid exploration of what it means to navigate life as a black woman in England ensues. From playground racism to workplace discrimination, we follow her as she rakes through her memory to find her unresolved trauma and heal from a bad breakup.

Photos: See Aimee Lou Wood & More in Rehearsals for CABARET Photo
Get a first look at Aimee Lou Wood, John McCrea and Nathan Ives-Moiba in rehearsals for CABARET at the Kit Kat Club!

Christina Bianco Makes Pheasantry Concert Debut
in London Next Month Photo
Internationally acclaimed singer, actor and impressionist, Christina Bianco makes her Pheasantry debut with her first solo concert in over a year.  

Tickets from £30 for MEDEA Starring Sophie Okonedo Photo
What could turn a woman from a lover into a destroyer of love?


From This Author - Cindy Marcolina

Italian export. Member of the Critics' Circle (Drama). Also a script reader and huge supporter of new work. Twitter: @Cindy_Marcolina

... (read more about this author)

Review: IMAGINARY NATURAL BEINGS, VAULT FestivalReview: IMAGINARY NATURAL BEINGS, VAULT Festival
January 28, 2023

A vivid exploration of what it means to navigate life as a black woman in England ensues. From playground racism to workplace discrimination, we follow her as she rakes through her memory to find her unresolved trauma and heal from a bad breakup.

Review: SAINT JUDE, 100 Petty FranceReview: SAINT JUDE, 100 Petty France
January 27, 2023

Impeccable and efficiently disquieting aesthetics don't lift a content that - while expertly made - is ultimately rather underdeveloped.

Review: CACEROLEO, VAULT FestivalReview: CACEROLEO, VAULT Festival
January 26, 2023

A disorientating and disruptive piece that challenges the nature of theatre itself.

Review: PROJECT ATOM BOI, VAULT FestivalReview: PROJECT ATOM BOI, VAULT Festival
January 25, 2023

This first iteration of the piece is the perfect chance for the material to grow alongside its creatives: the elements of a great production are all there, they just need further polishing.

Review: BLOODY MARY: LIVE!, VAULT FestivalReview: BLOODY MARY: LIVE!, VAULT Festival
January 25, 2023

Bloody Mary: Live! is a joy to watch. The influence of Six is clear as day, from looks to sass, but Miller is unapologetic about it - a trend that continues throughout the hour-long piece. Giving a historical figure the Hamilton treatment isn’t new, but it’s a gift that keeps on giving. “I refuse to be small” Mary says. And, by god, Miller is anything but.