Review Score: 4/5
Written by Jeremy Dyson and Andy Nyman, Ghost Stories is an intriguing and terrifying stage production, which brings three stories of the paranormal to life through a narrator and three percipients – those who perceive to have seen something otherworldly, that they believe cannot be explained away with human science and deconstruction. That’s about as much as I can say about the story! You see, the audience are sworn to secrecy about all of the twists and turns that take place up on stage, so that the mystery and surprises will come as a complete shock to anybody going to watch for the first time.
What I can talk about however, is the brilliant performances put in by Joshua Higgott as Professor Goodman, Gus Gordon as Simon Rifkind, Paul Hawkyard as Tony Matthews and Richard Sutton as Mike Priddle. All bring a realism to their characters that can often be lost on the theatre stage; you become fully invested in everything they’re saying and for many people, you’ll even be able to recognise personalities from your real life in these four.
One of my questions going into Ghost Stories was whether this would be a simple storytelling session, or if we’d see re-enactments of the titular stories play out. What the show offers is both of those things, perfectly woven together and told through a set design that folds in and around itself, fully immersing the audience within its confines.
So, does the show scare? Absolutely. Not just once or twice, but continuously throughout. There’s nothing better as a fan of horror, than being around a group of like-minded people who all scream out loud when their fear is stoked, before bursting into a fit of giggles. Every sense is heightened dramatically before a big climax, and then the process starts all over again as you make your way through the show. I’m sure there’s some fancy scientific explanation as to why we want to be scared and continue to do this to ourselves: from a personal perspective, it’s that adrenaline rush.
Props must go to Lighting Designer James Farncombe and Sound Designer Nick Manning, as well as Scott Penrose who is responsible for the show’s special effects. All three are instrumental in bringing that intensity of a horror flick to the stage, and they succeed in ways you would have thought impossible.
If you’re a horror junkie and love a good scare, then you absolutely must see this show. Note that you have to be 15 or older to attend, and that it’s a 90-minute show with no interval. If you leave at any point, you won’t be granted readmission to the theatre.
Ghost Stories runs at The Lowry in Salford until Saturday, February 22nd, 2020.