The Rats in the Walls
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Picture of undead rat

The Rats in the Walls

written and performed by Chris Neville-Smith
based on the short story by H. P. Lovecraft

I am sorry to wind you up in this. They put me away because of what I know, and they might do the same to you. But somebody has to tell the world of the rats. Scurrying rats whose scampering will never let me sleep. Demon rats that race now behind the padding of this room. You can destroy my home, but you cannot destroy the evil that lies beneath. The rats, the rats, the rats in the walls!"

They say Charles Delapore is a dangerous madman. He is locked away and restrained in a brutal asylum. But a new visitor has come from the outside - someone who Charles feels he can trust. He recounts how he came to his ancestral home of Exham Priory; how he sought to restore the priory to its former glory; how he struck up a friendship with Captain Edward Norrys, both seeking solace from a tragedy that unites them. But the fearful locals of Anchester said the family who lived there were inbred demons, and spurn anyone seeking to rebuild the cursed manor. How has Charles come to be be locked away? Because of the rats, he says. But there's a far more disturbing family secret.

Based on Lovecraft's short story from 1923, this adaptation transplants the setting from the aftermath of the First World War to the shadow of the Vietnam War. When those closest to him come from a brutal world of bombs and poison and gas and flames, can anyone claim to be better than the De La Poers?


Past Performances

Sweet @ the Welly for Brighton Horrorfest (work in progress): 30th October 2021

Saltburn Drama Festival: 17th March 2022

Underground Venues at the Clubhouse for Buxton Fringe: 6th, 7th, 13th & 14th July 2022

City Theatre for Durham Fringe: 28th - 31st July 2022

Sweet @ The Poets for Brighton Horrorfest: 22nd & 23rd October 2022

Laurels, Whitley Bay:  30th & 31st October 2023

Reviews, Quotes and Awards

Adjudicator's Award, Saltburn Drama Festival 2022

As in his previous foray to Buxton with Waiting for Gandalf, he has chosen a character that suits him, His Delapore is agitated and unsettled, arrogant yet teetering on the brink of insanity, never quite regaining his poise as he delves into his past and that of the priory."
- Stephen Walker

Nominated, New Writing, Buxton Fringe 2022

Richard Stamp, The Wee Review

The performance calls out telling details of the script to highlight the protagonist’s descent from idealism towards madness. Cleverly staged as well, with just a few props pressed to multiple uses and a few surprises later on"
- Richard Stamp


based on "The Rats in the Walls" by H. P. Lovecraft

written and performed by Chris Neville-Smith as Lieutenant Charles Delapore

with the voices of:

Jack Feeney as Captain Edward Norrys

Stephanie Cubello as Eve Thornton

Music from szegvaria (Morning Cloud and Old Nuclear Factory), Astrofreq (Out From the Wasteland and Ethereal Wasteland)

2023 publicity image created by John Hickman

2021 publicity image based on original artwork by Darkmoon Art