Cambridge Museum of Technology has been lucky enough to welcome the actor and writer Robert Lloyd Parry to do six thrilling, charming and at times chilling readings of some time honoured tales over the course of this year. In January Parry was back by popular demand to deliver a goosebump raising rendition of Charles Dickens’ classic ghost story ‘The Signalman.’ There aren’t many more atmospheric settings than our Main Engine Room for such a chilly Victorian story. Dickens’ narrator hears of the uncanny ghostly apparitions perceived by a lonely signalman from his dark and gloomy post in a tunnel. He tells of a ghostly appearance, seen only by himself, which he says prophesied a railway disaster in what is a slowly building horror story sure to tingle the spine. It was made especially suspenseful by Parry’s carefully poised reading.
Two Visionary Tales By H.G. Wells
In March we welcomed Robert Lloyd Parry back to do two dramatised readings of sci-fi stories by H.G. Wells. In ‘The Crystal Egg’ an elderly shop owner discovers a mysterious egg from which he can see Mars. A fascinating and influential story of interplanetary wonder, brought to life beautifully by Parry’s arresting and dramatic style. We then turned our attention to a reading of ‘The remarkable case of Davidson's eyes,’ the tantalising tale of a man who is struck by lightning and now sees with perfect clarity events occurring on a rock off the Antipodes Island. We were invited to entertain some far out theories to do with the Fourth Dimension and theoretical kinds of space and Parry kept his audience on the edge of their seats, capturing the imagination with his adept timing and delivery.
Sherlock Holmes In Cambridge
Next up came two readings in April of Arthur Conan Doyle’s celebrated sleuth Sherlock Holmes. Once again the Main Engine Room, with its huge and iconic Hathorn Davey pumping engines, formed the perfect backdrop for Parry’s readings of the detective at work in Victorian London. ‘The Creeping Man’ concerns the odd tale of a professor who has picked up the characteristics of an ape, and ‘The Dying Detective’ in which Holmes has apparently contracted a rare and deadly infection. The intrigue and drama was kept heightened at all times amidst the spectacular industrial setting.
The Wind In The Willows
As the summer months came around Parry was back, this time with the meandering and whimsical adventures of Rat, Mole, Badger, and the original amphibious petrol-head himself: Toad of Toad Hall. Kenneth Grahame’s revered family classic was rendered with humour and jollity by Parry, who seemed to revel in the opportunity to bring to life such energetic and fun characters. He read two chapters, including “Mr Toad” in which the bombastic and narcissistic toad finds himself wallowing in a pit of despair, following some controversial and impulsive pursuits. Once again Parry threw himself into the reading, and captured the original spirit of Grahame’s characters.
Halloween Ghost Stories
Robert Lloyd Parry returned to the Cambridge Museum of Technology for a spooky night of ghost stories in the lead up to Halloween. He brought to life two classic ghost stories from masters of the form, leaving everyone thrilled and chilled to the core. The first was E.F. Benson’s ‘How Fear Departed The Long Gallery’ which is an unexpected comic twist on the traditional haunted house tale, and the second was H.G. Wells’ ‘The Inexperienced Ghost,’ which raises the question of who is to be the most pitied in encounters with the dead. The hair raising tales were thoroughly enjoyable and the atmosphere was electric.
Sherlock At Christmas
The final reading of the year was last week’s festive Christmas reading of two more Sherlock Holmes tales, involving a dice with the wrong side of the law in ‘The Adventure of Charles Augustus Milverton’ and an evening trek around London to trace a highly valuable Christmas goose in ‘The Adventure of The Blue Carbuncle.’ With mince pies and mulled wine abound, this was a fantastic way to get in the Christmas mood. It’s been a captivating year of Robert Lloyd Parry readings, which have captured the imagination with tales of intrigue, drama and unexpected findings. We look forward to more excitement in the new year!