GHOST STORIES: Ambassadors Theatre, London
Simon Lipkin as Professor Goodman: photo Chris Payne

When I invited my husband to accompany me to the review of Ghost Stories, his reaction was one of utter disbelief. Terrified by the hype that had accompanied this production in past reviews, he was incredulous that anybody would willingly put themselves in the position of being spooked. Laughingly I told him he was a wimp and that he needed to toughen up. Nope, was his reply - no way!

So, with a gulp in my throat and a shaky spring in my step, I braved it alone. Reading the press release which states 'there is something dark lurking in the theatre. Enter a nightmarish world, full of thrilling twists and turns, where all your deepest fears and most disturbing thoughts are imagined live on stage' and hearkening to the echo of my other half's words I bravely, albeit nervously, took my pen and writing pad to spend 85 minutes at London's Ambassador Theatre to see Nyman and Dyson's much hyped (and much loved) Ghost Stories.

There is no way I am going to give the game away, after all we were kindly asked not to spoil the enjoyment of others by telling all. But needless to say, this was scary stuff. Sure, as a theatre goer you will undoubtedly bring with you experiences of past fears and excess of imagination. Film and television have implanted the seeds of scaredom into our psyche and coupled with the hi-tech effects and brilliant staging of this production, our tensions are compounded. To the sounds of rumbles, screeches and whines in an auditorium which holds a foreboding darkness, occasionally lit up by the startling glare of a torch, or car headlights, we are manipulated into an audience hysteria. When all around are losing their sense of reality, it is hard not to join the throng and yell.

With all this is the fact that we are a willing prey to all that is going on around us. It is ok to remind yourself that after all, this is theatre and nothing is as it seems. We have seen the tricks of the trade and live use of well known film effects. We saw them in 'Woman in Black', we shivered and squealed in the delicious 'Ghostbusters' and so we should be quite attuned. But no, we simply don't want to be. Our inner ghoulish delight of terror is ignited and despite telling myself that none of this is real, even laughing at key points, I certainly left the theatre with senses heightened, aware of each echoing footstep behind me and each street light casting its eerie glow.
 
Performances are excellent in the three stories presented which build to a dramatic climax. To begin, the genial Professor Goodman, played endearingly by Simon Lipkin, creates an initial sense of calm, lulling us into his reassurances of things that supposedly go bump in the night. He fooled us! Be warned, this is not for the faint hearted. But it is fabulous fun.

So high five to Garry Cooper as the Night Watchman Tony Matthews, Preston Nyman as Simon Rifkind, Richard Sutton as Mike Priddle and of course Simon Lipkin, all of whom were (too) convincing in their roles which were directed and led by a strong creative team comprising Jeremy Dyson, Andy Nyman and Sean Holms. With their creative genius and the support of Jon Bausor's fabulous set design, James Farncombe's atmospheric lighting, Nick Manning's menacing sound and the macabre effects of Scott Penrose, this is a production that makes for a wonderful evening out and achieves a prominent impact. It is certain to enjoy success long into the future and will undoubtedly play to full houses.

Now, where did I put my proton pack!

Running time 85 minutes,no interval


Listings

Ghost Stories,The Ambassadors Theatre, West Street, London WC2H 9ND    

Tickets  Box Office 020 7395 5405 or www.atgtickets.com/venues/ambassadors-theatre/
Ticket prices start from £18.25

Dates Running until Saturday 4 January 2020: Monday-Thursday 7.30 pm,Friday 7 pm and 9.30 pm. Saturday 7 pm and 9.30 pm.

Halloween Performances: 7.30 pm and 9.30 pm. 

Christmas Eve: 2.30 pm. Boxing Day 7.30 pm. NO performance Christmas Day

Social Media

www.ghoststorieslive.co.uk


Facebook: @ghoststories


Twitter: @ghoststoriesUK

Instagram: @ghoststoriesLDN