PLAY REVIEW: GHOST STORIES

With one of the biggest horror plays since The Woman in Black returning to London once more, Sam stopped by the Lyric Theatre in Hammersmith to see Ghost Stories.

They certainly know how to set the scene.

Ghost StoriesIn the foyer an eerie soundtrack plays, rumours of a scare cam flitter across the bar, and there’s a photo booth baring the words: “I survived Ghost Stories”.

Moving into the theatre only makes you feel worse: dim lights from above, police tape along the wall, a red, dripping safety curtain sat in front of you and every audience member on either side giggling “I’m a bit scared, are you?”

Then it begins…

Written by Andy Nyman and Jeremy Dyson, Ghost Stories premiered (also at the Lyric) in 2010.

After a West End transfer, an international tour and a smash hit film, it’s back for more.

The story is simple.

Professor Phillip Goodman is a lecturer, devoted to debunking tales of phony phantoms and, tonight, we’re his audience.

Woven throughout his presentation are three traditional ghost stories: late night watchman alone in an abandoned building, a young man in the woods at night, and a high-lying Londoner stood in his unborn child’s nursery.

And the end… I’ll leave that to you to find out.

It’s safe to say, this production is terrifying.

I screamed.

Out loud.

A lot.

For starters, they’re not afraid to keep you, literally, in the dark.

Entire scenes are done by torchlight and one horrifying sequence gives you nothing but the light of a dashboard to illuminate the things that go bump in the night.

There could be anything lurking in the dark upstage and they use this to their advantage incredibly well.

Puppets move in ways humans never could, inanimate objects fly off tables, and children whisper “Dada”, which I swear was coming from directly behind me.

You even feel a cold wind blow and smell the sterile scent of bleach. We really were inhabiting the same space as the characters and, therefore, the ghosts.

Theatre is the perfect place for horror.

Its “liveness” punches you in the gut.

And you leave the theatre, chilled to the bone, with the final words “sleep well” ringing in your ears.

(Spoiler alert: I didn’t!).

Verdict: This is a testimony to why we need more horror onstage. It’s pulpy horror, sure, and its conclusion is a bit “I’ve seen this before”, but I’ve never been so scared in a theatre in my entire life.

By Sam Essame

Want to join one of the fastest-growing horror communities in the UK for FREE? Now you can. Click here to become a member of The London Horror Society

Other Posts You Might Enjoy

PLAY REVIEW: CARNIVAL OF CROWS Visiting Vault Festival in the spray-painted tunnels beneath Waterloo Station, I popped in to catch Carnival of Crows, a one-woman show about a travel...
PLAY REVIEW: BERBERIAN SOUND STUDIO With the Donmar Warehouse producing the first stage adaptation of Peter Strickland’s 2012 horror film, Sam stopped by to catch the penultimate perform...
PLAY REVIEW: A VERY VERY VERY DARK MATTER Fresh from the Oscars after Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri comes Martin McDonagh with his latest theatrical endeavour: A Very Very Very Dar...
Film Review: Ghost Stories Ghost Stories is a British horror film directed by Jeremy Dyson and Andy Nyman, who also stars in the film as Professor Goodman. Personally, I really ...
PLAY REVIEW: APRIL After Carnival of Crows, I popped into Vault Festival again to see Hermetic Arts’ April, a one-woman show of a ‘Positive Thinking guru for the YouTube...
This entry was posted in Review and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.