Hammersmith Ghost Stories

So this week’s Theatrical adventure was to see Ghost Stories at the Lyric in Hammersmith.  I admit that I was not quite sure what to expect, but the review were good and said it was genuinely scary.  The site reads:

Please be advised that Ghost Stories contains moments of extreme shock and tension. The show is unsuitable for anyone under the age of 16. We strongly advise those of a nervous disposition to think very seriously before attending.

But that was sure (in my head) to be just a build up.  Right?  Well, in part yes.  However I commend Ghost Stories, both for being thoroughly entertaining, as well as for trying something a bit different.

I haven’t been to the Lyric before, but on entering I loved the blood red lampshades, the black painted walls.  The entrance to the theatre itself coated in hazard tape, numbers scrawled on the walls, crime scene lights lighting the seats.  Brilliant attention to detail.

The show is massively influenced by the work that Andy Nyman has done with Derren Brown (of whom I am also a fan), and was extremely well presented, as a lecture into ghost stories.  From here on in it becomes difficult.  I don’t want to spoil the show for anyone who hasn’t seen it, and so I won’t give away any of the details, but it’s involved and worth paying attention all the way.  I’d love to talk specifics but I fear the spoilers would be a waste so I won’t, but suffice to say that most of the production went brilliantly with only a few things I would change!

The acting is really top notch, and cleverly stylised in places, with amazing attention to details, making complex things look natural and conveying a sense of realism that surpasses many productions I have seen, it could have been a lecture much of the time.  The cast gel together as a team, and the detailed work spreads through all of them, not just the professor character who we spend a lot of time with.

Was it scary?  Well, a lot of people seemed to think so.  They use some fairly traditional tricks – loud music and noise to mention the obvious ones.  But they still make  you jump.  They use some creepy bits and pieces too.  I wasn’t too scared, not because I am ‘the big man’ but maybe because I watch alot of scary movies or something.  It was however an enjoyable experience well worth taking in – hats off to The Lyric for taking what could be thought of as a risk.  Theatre has to compete with so many other forms of entertainment that trying out new ideas, interactivity being one of them is something that the theatre can do brilliantly, and this is just such an example, all power to them, and the more the merrier.

A note goes to the excellent design of the show (Jon Bausor whose use of trucks and gauze and things was seemless – a top job from the stage crew as well).  The lighting which served to highlight the earie quality of the show and provided thrills as well (James Farncombe) and the sound (although too loud in places for me) gritty and true to form (Nick Mannin)

Published in: on March 12, 2010 at 1:00 pm  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , ,