‘Poltergeist’ meets ‘Goodnight Mister Tom’ in Ian Breeds’s genuinely frightening wartime ghost story. When a young evacuee is moved into the house of cantankerous widower George, things that go bump in the night are soon to follow and his house becomes a nightmare of strange noises, slamming doors and supernatural possession.
At a lean hour long it’s a mercilessly efficient house of horrors, with the hell of war and a burgeoning relationship between George and his childhood friend Brenda a convincing backdrop for the scares. Unlike the majority of stage horror, however, the creepy illusions and sudden shocks here really do pack a punch. Set design is credited to the whole team, and it’s a stunning achievement - gorgeously detailed and ingeniously tricked out with effects and surprises.
The show is made all the more unsettling by an assured performance from the brilliant Maria Eugenio as a schoolgirl pursued by malevolent forces. The story may be a familiar one, but this is haunted house theatre at its spine-chilling best.
By Stewart Pringle