I Used to Hear Footsteps

A documentary style piece of storytelling which merges fact and fiction, past and present in an interesting tale, that sadly fails to curdle the blood.

A niggling and fascinating piece of minimalist theatre.

Jack Britton, our solo performer dressed in a lecturer’s jacket ripe for getting covered in chalk from that promising blackboard presents evidence for the presence of one or more ghosts in the house he grew up in. Using historical information, interviews with those who have lived in the house, Britton tirelessly puts together a compelling case for a haunting, and teaching you a new word along the way. Apophenia – the tendency humans have to perceive patterns in meaningless data. However, how many witnesses and records do you need to gather before the data is not random?

Britton comes across as an earnest and quietly spoken storyteller, guiding us through his personal search for answers. Making great use of the venue, utilising the blackboard and sink and the lecture-style space to his advantage, lending a pseudo-academic feeling to the show. Britton’s shadow a constant ominous presence whenever the overhead projector is on. At some points Britton ingeniously uses a combination of projectors - hidden amongst the collection of sadly unopened boxes that made up the set - to summon ghostly figures and text onto the wall. At other times he makes use of the oldest trick in the book, a dark room and a dimly lit figure reading from a book. These sections really worked. While bathed in darkness, eyes dimly lit, Britton delivers a chilling tale about waking to a face just inches from your own was enhanced by an eerie soundscape. The use of shade and the unnerving score made the audience feel stranded in the dark - abandoned, but not alone.

Unfortunately, we spent a lot of time listening to, and then dissecting evidence for the ghost, which caused points in the show to feel like they are dragging. It is a bit of a shame that the clinical evidence gathering rather takes some of the fear and mystery out of the supernatural aspects of the show, preventing the perceived spiritual activity- swinging cups, footsteps on the landing, figures at the end of beds- from reaching their full potential as scary stories.

I would recommend this show to both those who believe in the supernatural and cynics like myself. This is a niggling and fascinating piece of minimalist theatre.

Reviews by M Johnson

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The Blurb

This show is haunted; it resurrects a true childhood ghost story. The protagonist of this tale is the curious house on Winchester Road, where the various inhabitants report unexplainable occurrences. Suspend your disbelief and follow an investigation that spirals beyond rationality. In the search for answers, witnesses relive their encounters; presences emerge and the fragile lines between normal and paranormal blur exponentially.