15 August 2016
There is a fine tradition of thrillers and ghost stories in theatre. The Woman in Black is still packing them in, Sleuth and Deathtrap are still popular.
In fact Darktales, in which a creative writing lecturer is confronted by a damaged ex-student, treads a similar path. Sadly it fails to thrill.
A few things mitigate against this show. One is the late afternoon slot, the other is the huge venue. Ghost stories are best told in an intimate space, drawing you in and telling the tale. Here we are so far away from the tales we are literally distanced. Sadly there isn’t much the cast of Andrew Paul as the Professor and Sean Ward as the student Jack can do with Tim Arthur’s clunky script.
Every cliche is in the book is utilised- recorded screams, whispering, things that go bump, and the cast go through the motions. Carrie Max is underused as the “is she dead or alive” love interest Lucy.
Late night, in a dank cellar, this show might find the right atmosphere. As it is, it’s far too safe, and seems a strange choice for the fringe. In saying that, if you don’t spot the twist, and you’re a fan of ghost tales, this may be the show for you. However, in this city of ghosts, you may be better off booking a ghost tour.