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#184 Ghost Stories

March 28, 2011
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The stage, at the exact moment when the ██████ ██ ███ █████ (IMAGE CENSORED)

Ghost Stories! Having transferred from Liverpool to Hammersmith and then to its current run in the West End, Ghost Stories is making a play for the kind of years-long run that only a very few West End productions achieve. It does this by pulling every string to chill and terrify, using every dirty theatrical trick in the book, and a few the writers must have found written in blood in a sewer somewhere.
This isn’t so much a play, as an elaborate mechanism for making you scared. It’s a static ghost train.

Co-written by Jeremy Dyson (otherwise known as the member of the comedy troupe The League of Gentlemen that you never see on screen), Ghost Stories is only 80 minutes long and has no interval; there’s no let-up in the tension, except where it’s expertly deflated, just to soften you up for what happens next.

Here’s the setup*:

The play starts with what appears to be a lecture by an eminent, skeptical parapsychologist. He introduces you to three cases: a ███████, a ████ ██████ and lastly, a █████, ███, ████████. At first, things seem █████, although ███ ████ ██ ██████. Once the ████ ████, everything becomes ████, even ██████. Probably the worst moment is when we see a ████ █████, ██████. The audience really weren’t prepared for the ███ ████ █████ of his dead █████. The ██████ was in fact a terrfiyingly plausible ██████; the rest of the █████ is █ ████ ██ ███ █████ █████ █████ ███ ████. Crucially, ████ ██ ██ ██, ████ █ ██ ███ ██ ███ █████ ███ █████ ██████████ ███ █████ █████ █ ███ ███ ██ ███ █████ █████ ███ █████ █ ███ ███. I realised that by this point, my heart was hammering and I was virtually clawing the arms of my seat. It was real fear – or at least, something enough like it.

We still weren’t prepared for the ███ ██████ ███ ██ ██████ ███ ██ ███ ███████. It was in the sequence of █████ all along.

By the way: at the end, a shaken audience are kindly asked to keep the plot a secret, so as not to spoil the scares for anyone else. Sorry.

To get a flavour of the production, check out the show’s fake-or-is-it parapsychology blog here: http://www.scienceofghosts.com/

*Some elements redacted to remove spoilers

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. March 28, 2011 5:36 pm

    It sounds ███.

    • March 29, 2011 11:53 am

      Actually, it’s ███ ██████. So there.

  2. Duncan permalink
    April 6, 2011 9:46 am

    Saw it while it was still at the Lyric, and whilst I enjoyed it, it would have been way more enjoyable if there had been no expectactions at all. Instead, the audience had to deal with a group of screaming wimmin at the front, who were intent on finding ‘scary things’ in every single action on stage, regardless of whether it was warranted or not.

    10/10

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