Saturday, 13 April 2019

REVIEW: Ghost Stories at the Lyric Hammersmith



Nearly ten years since Ghost Stories first began rehearsals at the Lyric Hammersmith, Jeremy Dyson and Andy Nyman’s play has been performed seven cities in six different countries. It has since been made into a film and returns to London after five years to the place where it began. 

Simon Lipkin’s Professor Goodman, an expert in Parapsychology, pays tribute to the vintage horror stories and creepy pictures that spooked the world. He debunks each myth with explanations of why we tricked ourselves into terror, before interviewing three people about their unexplained supernatural experiences. 

Having seen the show at the Duke of York’s in 2010, I was aware of the additions to the new version of the play. Without giving away any spoilers, I found the new scene particularly insensitive. The show has drastic contrasts between humour then very dark moments which made the themes confusing- is it trying to be a light hearted spooky comedy? Or a sinister, deeper show? Dyson and Nyman try to justify most elements of the stories near the end of the play, but some areas aren’t explained, which was baffling and had me wondering if I had missed out on some key plot points.

All the performers were excellent and had great direction from Dyson, Nyman and Sean Holmes. Jon Bausor’s set is incredibly sophisticated and explores a range of locations, taking us on a horrifying journey into each story. I have to congratulate Nick Manning for his sound design- he is responsible for the eerie atmosphere and unsettling build of tension throughout the show. 

Ghost Stories is not necessarily haunting, but it gets the audience jumping out of their seats (credit to Scott Penrose’s special effects). As many people respond to fear with laughter, the regular chuckles from the auditorium keep the evening fun and the audience wanting more. I would recommend taking a trip to the Lyric Hammersmith for this new cult classic. 

Review by Hannah Storey

Rating: ★★★★

Seat: Stalls, E 14 | Price of Ticket: £42

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