The tag line is ‘You Haven’t Seen Horror Until You’ve Seen It Live’, and it is a tag line that I couldn’t agree with more. Ghost Storied has got to be one of the most fascinating and intriguing additions that is currently in London’s West End theatre land. No photos or clips of what takes place in the 90 minute show can be found on the Internet, no matter how hard you look. Unlike adverts for other theatre productions that show clips of certain parts of said production, with glimpses of actors and the settings in which they are in, giving the audience some kind of an idea of what to expect when they themselves enter the theatre. This isn’t the case with Ghost Stories. All adverts and posters publicising the play show nothing of what will be before the audience if they choose to purchase tickets. All that is portrayed is a number of audience members being filmed while watching Ghost Stories, all looking completely petrified, some perhaps even close to tears, and jumping out of their skins at whatever it is that they are watching. The suspense of what you see builds long before you even step foot in the theatre, and in matter of fact, you are really buying tickets to see something you know absolutely nothing about.
I first saw Ghost Stories in August 2010, and when I found out it was coming back to London, and when I got tickets for Christmas to see it for a second time, I was excited beyond explanation. Before I knew it, I was at the Arts Theatre near Leicester Square, it was 5pm, and it was time to face the horror once more. Having had four years between viewings, I had forgotten where the real scares were, remembering only certain moments, as well as the basis of the plot, which really I was pleased about, as I wanted to be scared as much as I was four years ago. When entering the theatre, I never thought I would be even more scared than I was when I first saw it, in all honesty I didn’t think it would be possible. How wrong was I.
With a three year break from being shown in London theatres, a number of changes have been made. It was beyond perfect on the first showing, but with the new moments of absolute shock, new twists and turns that the audience do not see coming, it makes for a brand new viewing experience, even with a second viewing. The mystery that is built around the play, and the eventual discovery of what takes place in the concluding moments, and all those leading up to it does not disappoint. A little heads up: there are particular moments that will stay with you long after you have left the theatre. For example, there is a certain word, just one word, that for nearly four years, whenever someone around me says this word, it genuinely sends shivers down my spine. No word of a lie, it just freaks me out beyond belief. When sitting in the theatre on Saturday 15th February, when I knew that the moment was coming up soon I literally had butterflies in my stomach, I was getting that freaked out about this one word (if you have seen Ghost Stories you may be able to guess what it might be). I think that just shows the lasting impact of this production; once you have witnessed it, it refuses to leave your mind.
The work that Jeremy Dyson and Andy Nyman have created in Ghost Stories is magnificent, a masterpiece. For all horror fans out there who have a thrill to be scared to their very core, this is the play for you. A firm and extremely well deserved 5 stars.