Winning Harrogate student's review of classic horror tale

A scary character in the recent production of H.P Lovecrafts Polaris at Harrogate Theatre.
A scary character in the recent production of H.P Lovecrafts Polaris at Harrogate Theatre.

In 2012 Harrogate Theatre's education department in association with The Harrogate Advertiser launched the Young Reviewers Scheme, mentoring the finest writing talent from our local secondary schools in the art of reviewing.

The latest round of students to take part were given the task of reviewing a new adaptation of H.P Lovecraft’s Polaris, a classic tale of horror.
The winning review below was written by Caitlin Nix of Harrogate High School

Polaris, an original adaptation devised and performed by Michael Sabbaton and directed by Sylvia Vickers, follows H.P Lovecraft’s chilling short story ‘Epic Tale of Fragmented Reality’. It is the fourth in Sabbaton’s ‘The Lovecraft Collection’ and is a must see for any cult-literature enthusiast.
Polaris’ complex plot leaves audiences questioning. Its stylised design portrays twisted realities in the juxtaposition of dreams, memories and the ever-blurring truth. It shadows one man’s struggle with torn identities and increasingly fragile sanity: Bathed in the aurora of the pole star Polaris, it challenges the audience’s concepts of fear, the supernatural and our place on this Earth.
Sabbaton has audiences transfixed, hanging on his every word and questioning to the end. His characterisation is impeccable, even down to the facial tics! His ability to maintain an air of mystery and hold audience attention single-handedly is worthy of great merit.
The intimate Studio at Harrogate Theatre lent itself perfectly to this minimalist production. The stripped back set allowed the imagination to conjure an individual image of the world painted in Sabbaton’s performance.
The technology of this production provides the perfect platform for Sabbaton to deliver this haunting soliloquy.
Layers of dissonant sound create an air of confusion and build an unrelenting tension. The unique soundtrack, produced by Sabbaton, emphasises changes of setting in the characters mind and personifies external factors to create a fully immersive sensory experience.
The atmosphere was further enhanced by evocative lighting throughout, aiding the establishment of the characters state of mind drawing the audience deeper into his ever dwindling reality.

By Caitlin Nix
For further information regarding Michael Sabbaton’s work and future production details, visit