GHOST STORIES is a spooky play written by Andy Nyman and Jeremy Dyson which has come direct from the West End. A note from the director Peter J. Snee states that, “Our biggest fear is that horror is lurking somewhere out there…it is lurking inside you right now, simply waiting for the opportunity to break free when you are least expecting it and are at your most vulnerable.”
The audience is greeted by the eerie, haunting and unsettling sounds of howling winds emanating from the theatre to the foyer which sets the tone and mood of the intriguing performance.
We are introduced to Dr Philip Goodman, Professor of Parapsychology who asks the audience if they believe in ghosts. He comments, “Everyone has their own version of the truth.” During the course of the play it is his journey which is the most surprising. He interviews three characters; a night watchman who shines a torch on the audience’s fears and insecurities, a teenage driver and a businessman awaiting the birth of his child. All have supernatural and unexplained encounters.
GHOST STORIES questions rational thinking but does not offer “concrete solutions.”
There is light relief mixed with chills and thrills, for example there is a photograph on screen comparing Mother Teresa’s face to a cinnamon bun. Reality means different things to different people.
“’We push, we test, we play with our fears, testing edges, boundaries.” The ending is unpredictable and Professor Goodman becomes the participant instead of the narrator. It raises the question, Is the poltergeist or evil spirit hidden under one’s own bed or is it simply in one’s head?!
There is a fine cast including Lyndon Jones as Professor Goodman, John Gregg as Tony Matthews, Ben Wood as Mike Priddle and Aleks Mikic as Simon Rifkind. These characters provide compelling testimonies.
Special mention goes to skilful lighting designer Christopher Page with sets and costumes by Netanya Shearer-Stanton. A highlight in a visual sense was the haunting scene on a desolate, foggy stretch of road.
GHOST STORIES is produced by Prince Moo productions. It is not recommended for people under the age of fifteen. However, judging by the audience’s reaction the fear factor was less than expected. There weren’t many audible gasps in fright. A word of advice… leave your scepticism at home.
GHOST STORIES runs for 80 minutes and plays the Drama Theatre at the Sydney Opera House until the 15th August. Performance times are from Tuesday to Sunday at 8.00pm, also Thursdays and Saturdays at 2.00pm. Running time 80 minutes.