Since its remarkable success in 2010 at the Lyric Hammersmith, Jeremy Dyson and Andy Nyman’s thrilling Ghost Stories has been making its mark on tour, on film and now back in the West End – just in time for Halloween, writes Rosie O’Connell.
Despite opening nine years ago, the show is packed full with spine-tingling surprises that make it very easy to see why this play has had such enduring successes.
Our host for the evening is the rational Professor Goodman – with Simon Lipkin fluently taking over proceedings from show co-creator Andy Nyman – who ushers the audience through his lecture on his experiences with the paranormal, three incidents in particular of which he has found to be unexplainable. Lipkin is well supported throughout by Gary Cooper, Preston Nyman and Richard Sutton as they regale the audience with their scintillating, sinister tales of the supernatural, scaring the living daylights out of the auditorium with sophisticated style.
Of course none of this can be achieved without the talent of the creative team. With hazard tapes and flickering lights draped around the theatre as soon as you enter, these stories are brought to life by the imaginative design from Jon Bausor. The tension is built terrifically with James Farncomb’s clever lighting design and the eerie, unsettling sound effects from Nick Manning. Scott Penrose’s special effects are the icing on the cake as the characters (and audience) are taken to meet their darkest fears.
With warnings to keep the secret, I certainly won’t be sharing any plot spoilers and I would be remiss to anyway. That is the whole fun of it, the unknown – they are daring you to book tickets without knowing every trick and turn of the production. Sure Ghost Stories may not be for those with a nervous disposition or the faint hearted, but its clever balance between humour and horror is awfully impressive, even if you do spend the whole 80 minute runtime on the edge of your seat, eyes covered and clinging to the person next to you.
Ambassadors Theatre West St, London, WC2H 9ND until 4th January. Times: Monday – Thursday: 7.30pm, Friday: 7.00pm & 9.30pm, Saturday: 7.00pm & 9.30pm. Admission: From £18.25. Phone: 020 7395 5405