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  • Writer's pictureSarah

A review of The Child in the Snow at Wilton's Musical Hall

If you've never been to Wilton's Music Hall or haven't heard of it, you've really been missing out on something rather special. It's the oldest surviving grand music hall in the world.

Graces Alley

Situated a short walk from either Tower Gateway, Aldgate East tube stations or Shadwell over-ground station, when you find Graces Alley you feel as if you are entering the East End of London as it used to be. The lighting is atmospheric and it would be hard not to think of people long gone, who once walked down this alleyway.

Wilton's bar - this part of the building dates from the 1690s

It's history goes back to the 1690s; the buildings that now form the bar, box office and rehearsal space were once houses, shops and pubs. The musical hall was a latter addition in 1859, when John Wilton purchased the building which had contained a concert hall. It's had many uses over the years, and amazingly survived the Blitz when so much of the East End was flattened. After many years of neglect and threat of being pulled down, enough funding has been obtained to turn this back into a beautiful venue.

The interior of Wilton's Music Hall, showing the audience, and the balconies held up by twisted wood pillars
The interior of Wilton's Music Hall - shabby, chic, and atmospheric

In my opinion the restoration is a masterpiece. It would have been easy to paint it and gild it to bring it back to it's original glamour. Instead it's shabby chicness makes it really rather special, and the perfect venue for a ghost story.

The set for The Child in the Snow.  The mystery is outside the windows.  The set contains a small round table and two chairs.  The rest of the furniture is covered in dust sheetss
The set for The Child in the Snow. The mystery is outside the windows.

The Child in the Snow is set in 1918. A nurse called Hester returns from the front, saying that she was not scared as she'd experienced the most terrifying thing before the war, but she can't remember what that was. She enlists the help of a medium, played by Debbie Chazen, hoping that a séance will bring back her memories. Both women visit the house on the Northumbrian Moors where orphaned Hester spent a lonely childhood.

As the medium makes contact with the spirits, the family secrets unfold. Racism, classism, and murder. We find out why Hester was never allowed to play in the snow, and who or what might be out there...

Both actors worked really hard, Hester played by Saffyir Igna showed both vulnerability, bravery and a determination to remember her past. Whilst Debbie Chazen is convincing as the medium Estelle and the 2 other spirits who temporarily inhabit her body. The Child in the Snow has humour, sadness, and some genuinely jumpy moments!

If you are looking for a different ghost story this Christmas, then please do consider this, you won't be disappointed with either the venue or the chills that the play will give you!

The Child in the Snow is on until 31st December 2021.

Recommended age 12+

This is a ghost story - not suitable to those of a nervous disposition.

Running Time: 85 minutes + interval

Box Office: 020 7702 2789

Address: 1 Graces Alley (pedestrian access only)

London, E1 8JB



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