Spine-tingler The Body Snatcher is perfect Halloween theatre - Yorkshire tour dates

Cast of the Body Snatcher
Cast of the Body Snatcher

It may be sci-fi horror but actor Alex Moran describes the Body Snatcher – based on a Robert Louis Stephenson short story – as a love letter to his mum and dad.

That’s because as well as giving the story of grave-robbers Burke and Hare a modern twist it has a cool score of songs by Bowie, the Clash and Sweet.

This is the music his parents listened to and would take Alex to gigs.

“Music is a massive part of my life,” said Alex, who now runs Thunder Road theatre company which is staging the Body Snatcher. “I always remember the first time I heard a song. Music is a wonderful way to relax – and I always want to dance.”

One of the other influences on Alex’s choice of material was his grandfather, who was Scottish. He read fellow countryman Robert Louis Stephenson classics – including the Master of Ballantrye and Kidnapped – to him.

“I’ve never forgotten the feeling of sitting with my granddad, listening to the stories he told me,” said Alex. “It was the most comforting feeling in the world.”

He enjoys a horror-thriller and saw Woman in Black 13 times, stating its director Robin Herford as an influence on the style of theatre Yorkshire-based Thunder Road produced.

Adapted for the stage by Stephen Mallatratt from Susan Hill’s novel, it is a ghost story told by two actors, a prop box and sound effects.

It is this minimalist, imaginative approach that Thunder Road follows.

The Body Snatcher is glam rock meets gothic story-telling meets futuristic dystopia. It took Alex and playwright Ian Townsend a year to adapt it for the stage.

It’s 50 years after Brexit and the country is fighting a mysterious disease. In the remote town of Inglenook, a young scientist arrives to scenes of devastation – the streets are empty, the milk is sour and the dogs are howling day and night.

Haunted by his past, he knows that the future of this beleaguered country may lie in his hands. But he needs dead bodies to do his work, and he can’t work out why so many are turning up at his laboratory….

Stevenson’s tale took the notorious Burke and Hare murders of 1828 as its starting point. Multi-award winning playwright Ian Townsend has adapted it.

“I’ve always wanted to write a horror/thriller type of play and I really hope that The Body Snatcher will make audiences squirm with delight,” he said.

“As the dark nights draw in, it’s perfect for a spooky night out. No body is safe.”

Alex starred as David Taylor for two years in the National Theatre production of War Horse.

His one man show Tales From the BlackJack won a Manchester Evening News Theatre Award and Buxton Fringe Awards for Best Actor and Best production.He has appeared in numerous other roles and is very much an actor to watch.

After the run of Body Snatcher Alex will be starring in the pantomime Aladdin at the Georgian Theatre Royal in Richmond. He will play the Genie – in the style of Queen’s Freddie Mercury.

After that Thunder Road may do a production featuring the music of the man who inspired its name – Bruce Springsteen.

The Body Snatcher can be seen at

Harrogate Theatre from Wednesday October 23 to Saturday October 26, daily at 7.45pm with a matinee on the Thursday and Saturday at 2.30pm.
Tickets: 01423 502116

Leeds Carriageworks, Sunday October 27 at 7.30pm
Tickets: 0113 376 0318

Theatre Royal Wakefield on Wednesday October 30 at 7.30pm
Tickets: 01924 211 311

Square Chapel Arts Centre, Halifax, Friday November 8 at 8pm
Tickets: 01422 349 422

Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough, Saturday November 9 at 2.45pm and 7.45pm