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Ghost Stories at the Lyric Hammersmith | Review

Garry Cooper (Tony Matthews) in Ghost Stories at the Lyric Hammersmith. Photo credit Chris Payne
Garry Cooper (Tony Matthews) in Ghost Stories at the Lyric Hammersmith. Photo credit Chris Payne.

In 2010, Ghost Stories began life at the Lyric Hammersmith. Since then it’s played in the West End, toured the world and been adapted for the big screen. Now it returns to the Lyric once again; bigger, bolder and more blood-curdling than ever. Given the inherent theatricality of ghoulish tales, it’s a wonder why we don’t see them portrayed on the stage more often. Aside from The Woman in Black, I can’t think of another show that truly fits into the horror genre, which makes Ghost Stories an even more thrilling experience. If The Woman in Black is the theatre equivalent of being told a creepy story by torchlight, Ghost Stories is the stage version of all the best modern horror films Hollywood has to offer; jump scares and all!

The premise is simple; over the course of an hour and a half, a scientist gives a lecture on the nature of ghostly myths and how all paranormal encounters can be explained away with some simple logic. Sounds boring, right? Except, over his time researching the subject, he’s heard three stories that really chilled him to the bone. Just three. These are the stories we will be experiencing tonight. This, ladies and gentlemen, is where that clean pair of underwear will come in handy. Each story is simple but perfectly executed. The immense stagecraft and horrifically tense sound design will have even the most well-seasoned horror enthusiast on the edge of their seat, or jumping out of it!

Unfortunately, the nature of the show means that saying any more about its contents would almost be a crime. You just have to take a chance and enjoy entering into the unknown. Having said that, I can talk about the wonderful cast. Performed by four actors, Ghosts Stories doesn’t paint men in the best light. Each one obnoxious and flawed; chauvinist even. It’s a clever little trick, as to see these strong, uncaring men fall to their knees in fear makes it all the more worrying… and a little bit satisfying too. Simon Lipkin leads the team as the ever-present Professor Goodman. He perfectly embodies the professional manner of a lecturer while still remaining likeable, charismatic and often very funny too. Each story has a male lead. Garry Cooper is brilliantly understated as a jaded security guard on a night shift. A naive teenager heading home from a party is expertly played by Preston Nyman in probably the most scream-inducing tale of the night. And yes, there are a lot of screams coming out of the audience. Finally, Richard Sutton is gloriously grotesque as a businessman awaiting the birth of his first child. Together they expertly jump from comedic moments to touching sentiments and straight on to the shock factor.

The design of the show really is spectacular. The staging engulfs the audience making you feel even more uneasy. From the moment you step into the theatre, the soundscape is unnerving and it doesn’t let up for the next hour and a half. Even if you’re hard as nails and not scared even one bit, you’re still guaranteed to have great fun at Ghost Stories. The whole thing is a blast. A truly unique creature that lives halfway between a West End show and a Halloween horror night at Thorpe Park. So go and check it out… I dare you.

4 stars

Review by Dan Reeves

Following record-breaking sell-out shows, a West End transfer, productions in China, Australia, Canada, Europe and a smash hit film, the original terrifying live production is back.

Experience Andy Nyman and Jeremy Dyson’s worldwide cult phenomenon in the theatre where it all began.

Keep telling yourself it’s only a show.

Garry Cooper plays Tony Matthews
Simon Lipkin plays Professor Goodman
Preston Nyman plays Simon Rifkind
Richard Sutton plays Mike Priddle

CREATIVE TEAM
Written by Jeremy Dyson and Andy Nyman
Directed by Jeremy Dyson, Andy Nyman and Sean Holmes
Designed by Jon Bausor
Lighting by James Farncombe
Sound by Nick Manning
Special Effects by Scott Penrose
Associate Director Joe Murphy

Lyric Hammersmith presents
Ghost Stories
Written by Jeremy Dyson and Andy Nyman
29 Mar ‐ 11 May 2019
Running time 1hr 20mins | no interval Ages15+ VenueMain House
Book tickets for the Lyric Hammersmith

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