Ghost stories is a West End production produced and directed by Andy Nyman, best known for directing the Derren Brown TV and stage shows and his excellent acting performances in ‘Campus’, and ‘Dead Set’ and ‘Severance’ and more recently ‘Kick Ass 2′ His co-conspirator is this scintillating theater production is Jeremy Dyson of League of Gentleman. It is currently playing at the Arts Theater in the West End of London.
Last year Ghost stories played multiple nights for many months in London theater district and then toured Russia and Canada. Following it’s tour was continual critical acclaim very much deserved for the concept and the power built into the show. One of the most beautiful things about the marketing of this production is that not only has they been little information released about the show but the marketing very cleverly consists of footage of the audience – screaming in fear and a disclaimer outlining moments of extreme shock and unsuitability for under 15′s.
…..and so to the show…… Friday 28th February was the date. It was the date after it’s second tour of the west end. We took our seats, having shoveled down some pre-theater delicious pasta and calzone we headed into the theater….. The theater itself is a small intimate little room with purple velvet seats and a 2 minute walk from Leicester Square station. A bloodies back drop set the scene and the dimly lit room made every effort to set the scene. The nervous giggling from the packed audience members set the scene perfectly.
I am not going to go into details but will outline the format. Essentially the show is lead by a psychologist who details ghost stories which after a few lines of rhetoric evolves into the theatrical production of the show. Using only a few actors and a couple of special effects – the show is performed in a real stripped back nature and is beautifully executed!
The screams throughout the show were genuine and the production was very enjoyable. However it would be unfair if I purely laden it with praise. ‘The Jump’ is a technique used by a number of horror movies where a sudden loud noise makes you jump. This was used powerfully throughout the show and accompanied with a frightening visual. However, I felt that there were few if any scary moments which didn’t involve this jump technique. This does not detract from the show – please don’t get me wrong, but I felt that in order to execute true horror and fear one had to completely buy into the fact that this was not a theater production. Personally I felt that the acting on a couple of occasions felt too much like acting. But this is a minor point. The show was excellent and hopefully will help re-define theater productions and more theater shows full of theater, drama and horror evolve onto the UK scene rather than signers and classic, high budget west end stage shows.
It was the ending of the show which was the highlight to me….heading outside I saw Andy Nyman – and who was he standing there chatting to – but David Blaine. My first time of meeting David. Keeping up his air of mystery and mood we shook hand and then her scuttled away into the Taxi. But the man of the moment, and rightly so was Andy Nyman. We’ve met before on a Derren Brown TV special – but not chatted for much. Here we spent a good 5-10 mins chatting and what a sound guy he is. A genuinely friendly guy with real enthusiasm for his show and life. He introduced me to a son and we grabbed a phot and cheeky autograph.
A lovey end to a great night. The show itself was excellent – and well worth a trip to London. Hopefully this show will continue evolve and evolve and with the fertile imagination of Andy Nyman – I am sure it will! Great stuff!