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Ghost Stories

“Tight, thrilling, terrifying”

As Sean Holmes’ programming at the Lyric comes to an end, after he stepped down in October, it’s nice to see one of his great success stories back where it started nine years ago. Holmes directed the first run with its writers Jeremy Dyson and Andy Nyman, it had two West End runs, a load of international tours and, last year, a major film starring Martin Freeman. But it’s also a really good bit of theatre.

Drawing on the old horror film anthologies that used to come out of Hammer and Amicus, the play weaves together three (possibly interconnected) stories, and adds a load of jump scares as well as some brilliantly conceived and executed stage illusions. After all Nyman, as well as having an acclaimed career as an actor – he can currently be seen in Trevor Nunn’s moving revival of Fiddler on the Roof – has also worked as a magician, notably helping to write and direct Derren Brown’s stage shows.

Garry Cooper in Ghost Stories at the Lyric Hammersmith
Garry Cooper in Ghost Stories at the Lyric Hammersmith

But where Nyman starred in the original run, here the role of ‘protagonist’ Professor Goodman, delivering a lecture on ‘parapsychology’, is taken by Simon Lipkin.

Lipkin isn’t bad, but there’s a niggling sense that he’s playing the part of a lecturer, rather than convincing us – his ostensibly captive audience – that he actually is one. It’s something about his over-the-top delivery, his gestures, and there are many moments where he’s sort of doing an Andy Nyman impression.

Occasionally the show as a whole elicits terror simply from loudness, but on the whole it’s a really tight, swift and, of course, terrifying show. The sound and lighting designs are among the best you’ll experience in a theatre, and they work together gorgeously to create this harrowing, 80-minute nightmare thrill.

Ghost Stories review – ‘effective and creepy film of the hit stage show’

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Production Details
Production nameGhost Stories
VenueLyric Hammersmith
StartsMarch 29, 2019
EndsMay 11, 2019
Running time1hr 20mins
AuthorAndy Nyman, Jeremy Dyson
DirectorAndy Nyman, Sean Holmes, Jeremy Dyson
Movement directorRoly Botha
Fight directorRoly Botha
Set designerJon Bausor
Lighting designerJames Farncombe
Sound designerNick Manning
CastSimon Lipkin, Garry Cooper, Preston Nyman, Richard Sutton
TechnicalAdam Rainer, Elizabeth Dickson
Stage managerClaire Bryan
Make-up artistScott Penrose
ProducerLyric Hammersmith
VerdictAlmost 10 years later, this cult horror classic is still a harrowing, nightmarish thrill
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Tim Bano

Tim Bano

Tim Bano

Tim Bano

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