Written and directed by Jeremy Dyson (League of Gentlemen) and Andy Nyman (co-creator of Derren Brown’s live shows) ‘Ghost Stories’ reopened at the Arts Theatre near Leicester Square at the beginning of the year and since its first performance back in 2010 it has frightened over 300,000 people and you can see why.
With a warning – ‘Please be advised that ‘Ghost Stories’ contains moments of extreme shock and tension. We strongly advise those of a nervous disposition to think very seriously before attending’ – plastered over every wall you find yourself tense before the show even starts, even the voice over the intercom announcing the start causes the audience to jump.
The story itself is simple, but enthralling. It revolves around a parapsychologist giving a lecture on the paranormal and telling ghost stories that he has been told personally from eyewitness accounts. Without giving much away there are enough twists and surprises to keep you guessing to the very end, even when you leave.
It is a terrifyingly great experience. Think of a modernised ‘Woman in Black’ with more special effects, more visual horror and even more tension and that’s ‘Ghost Stories’. In the programme Nyman quotes his top ten scary movies including ‘An American Werewolf in London’ and ‘Halloween’, and you can see these influences in the show. The use of special effects, sound and prosthetics may seem over-the-top but they work really well and add an extra layer to the uneasy feeling the audience have throughout the performance.
However, unlike ‘Woman in Black’, the outlandish effects do mean that if you were to go back it would be hard to be scared as you would know what is coming. But I would strongly recommend it for a newcomer… well unless you have a nervous disposition… in that case stay well away.