Rural Suffolk has plenty of stories to tell, and Elizabeth Kuti's new script mixes the archaic folk myths with more modern tales to create the strange and spooky world of Fishskin Trousers. Told through the medium of three monologues, we are introduced to Mab, a twelfth century washer-woman; Ben, a 1970s Australian radar technician; and Mog, a modern teacher, and how their three stories intertwine when echoes of the past and present collide.

It's the production that wins out here: Robert Price's direction is subtle and evocative, relying on his actors to tell the story on a spartan set (a collection of chairs), beautifully well lit by Matt Leventhall. It could easily be performed anywhere, and relies heavily on audience imagination, which is aided by Kuti's detailed descriptions.

But it doesn't tie together well at all. The performers are all saddled with characters that have a tendency to speak around what's important, but none of them truly rise to the challenge: both Brett Brown and Jessica Carroll struggle with accent work, with his Australian and her Olde English both sounding unnatural and forced, and Eva Traynor struggles with, by far, the least interesting story. They all keep focus well, but it's nothing to write home about.

The problem here, though, is really more with the script: Kuti's meandering somewhere around historical account and Lovecraft, but the thriller/horror elements don't really work – there's no explanation or way into the unnatural happenings, which start off feeling tacked on, then confusing, and never integral to the plot (although they do cause much of it to happen). The titular fishskin trousers appear in all three stories, but it's never clear what they are or their importance to the plot.

There's also some serious stylistic problems: the monologues interchange too formally, with one following the other in succession in the same pattern and running the same sort of length in each instance. The predicatability of the form doesn't suit the story, and it's also a little dull to watch. With the unnatural elements (including potential time travel), it might have been nice to use the form to highlight these – but instead, it just ploughs on.

Kuti's clearly got a good head on her shoulders, and there's huge scope for a story about a Suffolk ghost story in the same vein as The Woman in Black (I saw something similar about the Scilly Isles that also descended into ridiculousness, but made a far better stab at chills than this), or even just a monologue-based piece covering a lot of her themes.

It's such a shame that such a simple, strong production is let down by the script, but this needs some serious work.

Fishskin Trousers, at Finborough TheatreChris Hislop reviews Fishskins Trousers at the Finborough Theatre.3