Ghost Stories

Written and directed by Jeremy Dyson and Andy Nyman
Liverpool Playhouse
4th-20th February 2010

Reviewed by Colin Serjent

The writers and directors of this production penned a note, which was inserted into each of the programmes given to reviewers on the press night at the Playhouse. They asked if we could find a way to review the show without giving away too much of the plot, or revealing any moments of high tension.

In regard to the latter request there weren't any, and as for divulging too much of the plot, that is not difficult either, because the plot is simplistic and lame.

The pre-publicity in the local press about Ghost Stories spoke about members of the St John's Ambulance being among the audience to assist people if they got too overwhelmed by - to quote the Playhouse - "..the extreme shock and tension at times in the play".

Is this bad hype or taking the mickey?

People around me were giggling at the so-called scary moments, me included.

In a nutshell, a Professor Philip Goodman (Andy Nyman), an expert on the paranormal, talks directly to the audience, as if giving a lecture, about three people who were certain they had encountered a ghost, namely nightwatchman Mike Priddle (Nicholas Burns), teenager Tony Matthews (David Cardy) and yuppie Simon Rifkind (Ryan Gage).

Their chilling experiences are each played out on stage, at times creating a spooky atmosphere, but it was very far from being blood-curdling.

The most uncomfortable moment for me came in the second scene, when fierce lights - representing car headlamps - were beamed into the crowd, threatening to burn away my retinas.

The highlight (sorry for the bad pun) of the production came in the closing minutes, with some totally unanticipated changes happening to all of the characters.

But overall it was a big disappointment. Boo!!

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