Presented by: Prince Moo Productions
Reviewed: 22 July 2016
Despite what we say, we love being scared. The anticipation for the fright builds tension to a crescendo fuelling our adrenaline. Some of the most successful books and films have been in the horror genre with the shadowy dark side continually providing fascination. Such a genre is timeless with scary stories being passed down the generations like fairy tales. The writers of Ghost Stories, Jeremy Dyson and Andy Nyman, are clearly fans who delight in sending chills up their audience’s spines. Aiming for a terrifying theatrical experience, Ghost Stories harks back to the days of vaudeville, with stage performers determined to conjure a spooky mood of infinite terror.
Her Majesty’s Theatre was the perfect setting for this night-time chill-fest. Our host for the evening ventured on stage like a carnival show-man. Displaying slides of various spectral happenings, he explained the phenomenon of the supernatural and why it continues to fascinate. Almost coming across as a curator in a ghostly museum, he effectively set the mood for the three stories we witnessed. Each had a ‘gotcha’ twist-ending, which I won’t spoil, but mirrored the best episodes of the classic TV show The Twilight Zone in terms of atmosphere and approach. The four actors (Stuart Brennan, Richard Moss, Matthew Connell and Brian Markey) who appeared in each piece displayed much skill in creating full characters with realistic foibles people could relate.
The characters were matched by mostly well-written stories. Whilst they could have been trimmed a little – especially the very meandering third act – they generally perfectly presented what Ghost Stories was about. It’s the knowing you’re going to experience scares that puts you on edge, which of course the makers of this show knew. They were more than aided by the excellent staging and lighting which instantly transported you into the story. Kudos to the creators for utilising every inch of Her Majesty’s Theatre as loud bangs and strobing lights enveloped the surrounds. These elements created the level of unease as if reading an Edgar Allen Poe or other gothic horror stories. Those of the squeamish side needn’t fear about seeing blood or gore as this production goes for more psychological scares than physical ones. This only adds to the creative imagination on display and one that worked despite some pacing issues.
Ghost Stories is a show succeeding on audience loyalty in not revealing too much of its secrets. So I’ll end by saying it was an overall scary ride that lived up to its promise. A few screams and jumps were heard and seen from the audience who – like so many from centuries before them – enjoyed being scared witless by things that most definitely went bump in the night.
Reviewed by: Patrick Moore
Venue: Her Majesty’s Theatre
Season: 22 – 23 June 2016
Duration: 1hr and 20 mins.
Tickets: Premium Adult – $65.00, Premium Concession – $59.00, Premium Groups 10+ (per tkt) – $59.00, A Reserve – Adult: $59.00, A reserve Concession – $55.00, A Reserve Group (10 per tkt) – $55.00, B Reserve – All tickets – $49.00.
Bookings: Book online at www.bass.net.au or phone BASS on 131 246