Live Review: Ghost Stories @ York Grand Opera House

‘We have to be very careful what we choose to believe…’

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I’m absolutely, bone-chillingly terrified of ghosts. Even as a supposed adult, when I hear a bump in the night my mind wanders to ghastly apparitions rather than home invaders. To get deep for a second, I think this is because I am certain that after we die there is nothing (cheery thought in these troubled times) in much the same way a man of faith is certain that God exists. Seeing a ghost therefore, would tear the very fabric of my entire belief system, and throw every other aspect of my life into sinister uncertainty. This burning desire to maintain the status quo, coupled with my Catholic upbringing that ensured I was exposed to ideas about the dead returning from the grave at an early age, has resulted in an ongoingfear of all things paranormal. And so… to Ghost Stories.

Phillip Goodman (Joshua Higgot) is a sceptical parapsychologist who is the narrator throughout the three ghoulish tales that make up Ghost Stories. His narration is delivered as a lecture to the audience which adds an air of intimacy and danger to the proceedings. One by one, Goodman holds the audiences hand through a series of grave and spellbinding ghost stories culminating in a unforgettable denouement at the shows conclusion. A voiceover at the end of the show implores the audience not to share any of the secrets that make Ghost Stories so compelling so I will keep any mention of plot a minimum. What I can confirm is that the unforgettable use of sound and lighting ensures that the audience remains on the edge of their seats throughout, and a convincing turn from Higgot shrouds York’s Grand Opera House in macabre mystery and mayhem.

I was genuinely frightened at times during Ghost Stories and that is surely the most important thing when attending a production of this kind. Certain aspects of the story really stuck with me, so much so that the ancient, cobbled streets of York took on a more perverse and foreboding light after the show had concluded. On Friday the 13th no less…

Co-creators Jeremy Dyson (League of Gentlemen) and Andy Nyman have conceived of a play to match Woman in Black as a gruesome vessel for ghosts to walk among us. An exhilarating and spine-tingling experience.

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