Friday, 11 March 2022

REVIEW: Ghosts of the Titanic at The Park Theatre

It’s always refreshing to see a show that doesn’t need the big stage, fancy costumes and huge sets to be successful. ‘Ghosts of the Titanic’ is exactly that. An intimate show telling the not so intimate story of possibly the most famous shipwreck of all time, the HMS Titanic. Or at least that's what we think is going to be told …

Probably the biggest part of this show is the storyline and what it focuses around, a theory that the HMS Titanic never actually hit an iceberg, that’s what Emma (Genevieve Gaunt) thinks as she begins to question what happens when her fiancĂ© never returns home from the Titanic’s maiden voyage. She confides in Molloy (John Hopkins) who she believes to be a reporter, Insistent on getting her story out there, and also to Swanson (Lizzy McInnerny) at the local news desk. 

Emma and Molly have undeniable chemistry in their scenes together. Hopkins’ Molloy is charming and charismatic but equally displayed moments of fragility throughout. Gaunt manages to take her character on a cycle of emotions, beginning reserved and stand-offish then changing to a woman with a purpose, not settling for anything less than she wants and her final stages into the descent of madness or what she’s led to believe as madness is a pleasure to watch. 

Other mentions were Mcbride (Fergal McElherron), Spinks (Sarah Ridgeway) and Swanson. McElherron brings to engineer Mcbride a cold and reserved demeanour whose change of heart towards the end of the show is endearing. Ridgeways’ detective Spinks is the humour the show needs, when it begins to become too serious or ‘heavy’ she comes in with comic timing and lightness the mood and takes away the seriousness. McInnerny’s Swanson finally starts almost rigid and emotionless but grows into her character through a layered and believable performance. 

What poses an interesting premise within the show is how believable the theories are. We’re led to believe Emma and what she’s saying until a different scene then we’re told not to, then comes the dilemma of do you now believe or not. Emma’s made to feel crazy as no one believes her and a theory that big almost poses the question do you need to be crazy to believe that?

There are moments where you question whether the engagement of the show is down to the show itself being a good show, or the story content is what makes it engaging, but the show consistently showcases moments that make you lean to the former. I guess the only real gripe here is where the second act seems to lose its ferocity. The first act sets up for an excellent ending and expertly sets up where the show could go, it seems the second act goes somewhere but ultimately fizzles out towards the end. 

However, we can be sure to say that rather than sinking, this show sets sail on a voyage that’s both engaging and enticing, thanks to director Eoin O’Callaghan’s clever adaption of writer Ron Hutchinson’s work. 

Review by George Butler

Rating: ★★★★
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