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Miracle Theatre: Hell’s Bells

Cornwall’s renowned Miracle Theatre is back on tour with their latest murderous melodrama ‘Hell’s Bells’. Joanna from Cornwall 365 eagerly attended this gripping performance, and here are her thoughts.


As we headed into the venue (the wonderful Poly in Falmouth), we were immediately transported into the 1924 world of years gone by, with gentle background music and old-style programmes to purchase – appropriately marked to cost half a shilling! Setting the scene on stage were a variety of small props – coat stands and tables with many drawers, perhaps foreshadowing the fast-paced multi-roling that would be undertaken by the three talented performers.



The story tells the tale of an inquisitive daughter, Ferelith (Anna Munden), and her infatuation with solving a whodunnit that has taken hold of a small seaside town, where she and her father, Grubb (Ben Dyson), are visiting on holiday. When the body of the lighthouse keeper mysteriously washes ashore, and his assistant is nowhere to be found, all manner of rumours begin to take hold. Will Ferelith be able to solve the mystery, or will unexpected events take her down a very different path…



As the action began, the clever use of a single, movable unit quickly became apparent, as it transformed into various pieces of set – a sea wall, a bar, and even the bow of a boat! Miracle Theatre are famous for their ingenuity of set and design, as well as their comedic (and impressive) use of multi-roling, with performer Ben Kernow taking on no fewer than six different roles within the performance; all with distinctly different physicalities and comedic flair. This theme of multi-roling developed even further with the ‘character within a character’ conception, which added another layer of inter-character dynamics to the evening.



Whilst the set began fairly simply, part way through the drama the white screen – which had been serving as the general backdrop so far – was lifted, revealing an exquisitely detailed interior of a lighthouse, complete with an array of appropriate (and important) props, including books, lanterns, a radio to the mainland and the titular Hell’s Bells themselves. This level of detail is what has come to be expected from Miracle, particularly from their set designer, Alan Munden, and it allowed the audience to completely immerse themselves into the surroundings – and provided a surprising hiding place too!

The high-quality design extended to the costuming by Jude Munden. The costumes were clean and concise to aid the performers’ multiple quick changes, while also accurately depicting the period setting. Specific costume elements, like a sea-faring captain’s bushy beard and elegant headdresses resembling waves, added delightful comedic touches.



The aforementioned use of a white screen seamlessly blended live performance with pre-filmed sequences, allowing for a dynamic pace that transitioned from interior to exterior settings and even hallucinogenic realms. This clever technique was further enhanced by the artful incorporation of special effects throughout the evening, such as mysterious breezes and a recurring underscore that punctuated pivotal moments in the plot, heightening the drama and suspense.



We are so glad to have experienced Miracle Theatre’s triumphant return to indoor touring with this spectacular show; it is not one to be missed – catch it while you can!

Hell’s Bells runs at venues across Cornwall and the South West until 6th April.
Find all remaining dates here.
Tickets can be purchased at


Performed by: Anna Munden, Ben Kernow and Ben Dyson
Writer and Director: Bill Scott
Devised by: The Company (Sally Crooks, Ben Dyson, Giles King and Jude Munden)
Associate Director: Sally Crooks
Stage Manager and Sound Designer: Eliot Alison
Choreographer: Hannah Stephens
Production Manager: Louis King
Film Production: John Crooks
Set Design: Alan Munden
Costume Design: Jude Munden

For Miracle Theatre

Finance Manager: Tina Massey
Marketing and Events Co-ordinator: Rosie Clark
Operations Manager: Julia Knight-Bennett
Marketing and Engagement Manager: Sophia Medine
Managing Director: Annie Ukleja
Artistic Director: Bill Scott

Photographs: Kirstin Prisk

Joanna Rule

Joanna is a theatre girl, loving all kinds of performance. She particularly enjoys productions telling stories of Cornish heritage and history. You can also find her exploring artists’ studios across Cornwall as part of her role leading Open Studios.