BWW Reviews: GHOST STORIES, Arts Theatre, Feb 27 2014
Andy Nyman and Jeremy Dyson's 'Ghost Stories' began in Liverpool back in 2010. Since then it's been seen by over 300,000 people in London, Toronto and Moscow. Despite so many people already surviving watching this show, I still genuinely thought I could be seeing the end of my life in the Arts Theatre in London...
As the lights dimmed my heart was beating at double speed and I clutched my coat in front of me. But the opening of this show had me fooled; Paul Kemp was enough to have the entire audience in stitches, relaxing us into a false pretence that this show would not make us all want to run home to our teddy bears.
As the audience we were set up to believe that we were in fact watching a seminar, with ample time to watch facts and photographic evidence to weigh up our individual opinions of unnatural presences. The stories are cleverly intertwined with one another to bring together three different people's ghostly encounters. Without giving any of the ghost stories away, it's safe to say that there was enough suspense and anticipation that you could hear every shuffle and movement from the audience.
I have to admit some of the effects and 'ghosts' didn't look overly effective; however, they still managed to make me jump and scream in my seat. Philip Whitchurch, Chris Levens and Gary Shelford all brought a comedic aspect to their stories which only led to the audience jumping and crying more. Even though some of what was to happen could have been easily guessed; the audience's reactions proved that even when you know what is going to happen it can still scare you at any moment.
I completely understand now why the show has a warning of 'extreme shock and tension', but I urge you to be a bit brave and try it out. Even if you bury your head in your hands and cry for the entire 80 minutes. It's worth it.
Having seen this show, I'm now fairly terrified at the prospect of being alone in a nursery or stranded in a broken down car to name only a few places. I can only hope that I'm not going to wake up in the middle of the night at 3:45am; and I will now need to keep telling myself 'it's only a show, it's not real, it's only a show'... But there were a fair few audience members who admitted to experiencing supernatural events. In the back of my mind, I will probably now question whether some of these ghost stories could be real after all.