When Were You Last Scared In A Theatre? Ghost Stories at the Lyric Hammersmith – Review

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It’s a fair question, when was the last time you went to the theatre and were scared? It’s not the usual experience one gets when one sees a play. I started to feel uncomfortable before this had even started, the eerie noises, and semi darkness as you enter the auditorium. By the end of the play I was suitably shocked and came out with a euphoria similar to finishing a roller-coaster.

This new play by Andy Nyman and Jeremy Dyson, has a been a hit at the Lyric Hammersmith and is soon to transfer to The Duke of Yorks Theatre in the West End. It’s unnerving, funny, shocking and brilliant. Those that have seen it have been asked to keep its secrets and so my review won’t comment on aspects of the plot.

Andy Nyman, not only co-wrote, he co-directs and stars in the play, his performances builds the tension just perfectly and he adds some wonderfully witty moments. To me this is the real strength of the play as it manipulates your mind and emotions, your laughing at one point and then the next moment going “arrggh”.

Jeremy Dyson and Andy Nyman have created a wonderful piece of theatre that in short screws with your mind (in a good way!). On discussing the show afterwards with the friends I went with, on several occasions there were aspects of the show where we’d seen different things happen, who was right? Each of us would swear we had seen what we’d seen. The buzz as everyone was leaving the theatre was great, people were laughing, chatting, some looking a bit paler than they did when they went in. It’s easy to see why this shows reputation has spread so rapidly. Very seldom do I leave a theatre and catch a “buzz”, this show has buzzes by the bucket load.

The rest of the cast give superb performances, adding horror, humour and fear as needed. Special mention must go to James Farncombe the Lighting Designer, as the use (and lack of) lighting in this production certainly make this unsettling, and I’m still not 100% sure if I saw certain things or whether it was another of Dyson and Nymans mind games! It’s definitely some of the most creative use of lighting I’ve seen in a production for a long time.

The West End needs something new, shocking and scary, Ghost Stories provides this cranked up to “maximum”, I wish its West End run the greatest success, and highly recommend it (as long as your 16+ and not of a nervous disposition. 😉 )

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3 thoughts on “When Were You Last Scared In A Theatre? Ghost Stories at the Lyric Hammersmith – Review

  1. I experienced this with Woaman in Black, still playing at The Fortune. I have been 7 times with different groups and the response is amazing. Have you seen it and if so how does it compare?

  2. Debbie,

    the problem with Woman in Black is it does something that can only be described as “theatrical idiocy” they put an interval in the play, which deflates any tension that was building.

    Ghost Stories is a tight, 80 mins, straight through and is clearly the better for it.

    A friend (who’s seen both too) described Woman in Black as “atmospheric rather than scary”, Ghost Stories is scary/shocking in a way Woman in Black just doesn’t pull off.

    I personally was surprised at the shrieks and screams that came from the audience in Ghost Stories, clearly it freaked people out a lot more than me. But hearing and seeing their reactions was part of the fun for me.

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