Ghost Stories is ninety minutes of terror and fun, bringing classic elements of sinister storytelling into a modern medium. A brilliant mix of horror and wit, this terrifically horrifying play is bound to give you nightmares.
The play, on its first-ever UK Tour, takes the audience through several spooky tales, proving that the classic horror tropes are alive and well. Darkness, death, and jump scares embody the play, creating nail-biting suspense that engages the audience from beginning to end.
Ghost Stories scares its audience from the outset. Through its use of sound and lighting design, it eerily builds tension in every scene. Specifically, through sound design, Ghost Stories thrills and unsettles its audience by using a mixture of continuous, subtle, and mysterious noises that are broken with booming sound effects.
The superb turntable set seamlessly transitioned each scene into a chilling new setting. Much of the set design added to the unnerving plot as it looked and felt realistic, immersing the audience into the world of ghosts. The actor’s movements, alongside prop transitions, were smooth, aiding to the pace of the play. A few moments of fright were, unfortunately, ceased by several unrealistic props that took the audience out of the scene and back into reality. Besides this minor flaw, the staging was effective in ensuring each member of the audience could view the horror onstage and did not miss any of the scares.
The cast was outstanding in their roles, forming authentic characters that were likeable and intriguing. The breaking of the fourth wall allowed for an interactive experience that captivated audience members, making them feel involved in the terror unfolding. With only four cast members, the audience could intimately develop alongside the characters, forming a compelling relationship between stage and audience. The actors adapted a fantastic script into a gripping performance by each bringing their unique element to the play. With striking personalities and amusing characteristics, the actors manifested the themes of horror and humour brilliantly. Joshua Higgott shone as the seeming narrator of the play, profoundly executing his character’s evolvement, leading to a shocking and clever twist.
The blending of terror and comedy rejuvenates horror theatre, creating a show that does not rely on cheap scares, but devises a thought-provoking storyline that leaves the audience quaking with more existential dread. The story creates characters that the audience can empathise with, situated in a well-crafted horror balanced out by its wit. Its use of humour also makes the show accessible to non-horror audiences, whose fear is equated with comic relief. Credit should be given to the original and captivating script by Jeremy Dyson and Andy Nyman who have generated a refreshing play that is destined to continue thrilling audiences.
Ghost Stories is for lovers of horror, but also fans of innovative theatre. It will leave you on the edge of your seat, afraid of what is coming next but begging for more; an accurate sign of successful, beguiling horror.
Images courtesy of Theatre Royal Bath, ATG Tickets and Telegraph