The Hunters of Ghost Hall

An interesting addition to the Fringe schedule, The Hunters of Ghost Hall's paranormal premise, pitch-black stage and eerie soundtrack seems to lend itself more to a Halloween line-up than a springtime festival.

Comically horrible dolls, witty one-liners and a handful of smutty jokes

Writer and director Tristan Wolfe asks what would happen if a TV crew filming a ghost hunting show and a pair of treasure hunters find themselves in a haunted mansion without any idea of the other's presence. The answer was an entertaining comedy with comically horrible dolls, witty one-liners and a handful of smutty jokes. With the audience in complete darkness and rumblings and knockings behind the scenes, The Hunters of Ghost Hall got off to an atmospheric start.

Unfortunately, what began as a comic show with a great premise and strong characters unravelled towards the middle, with not enough light and shade in the narrative to distinguish the play's structure. There wasn't a great amount of action that kept the story engaging and the full potential of the story's premise wasn't taken advantage of, with scenes that often only focused on characters trying to find each other in the huge house.

However, the cast of four was strong and direction by Tristan Wolfe made the most of the space. Any director attempting to fit a haunted mansion into a film studio on Middle Street has given themselves no easy task, and the use of lighting and soundtrack by Adam House cleverly evoked the sense of being surrounded by the mysterious walls of an abandoned house. Particularly effective was the use of torches to flash around the theatre and light up the actors' faces to atmospheric and comic effect, allowing your imagination to do its worst.

James Bennison gave a particularly enjoyable performance as the theatrical psychic waiting to show off his spiritual gifts on TV, despite being scared of the dark, ghosts, and being upstaged by any other psychics. Akasha Goodenough played the frustrated TV producer who was trying to wrangle the paranormal personalities to get some good shots for her ghost hunting show. Lena Hill and Mel Newton put spanners in the works as characters looking for treasure armed only with a key and a secret connection to the other world; their playful banter regularly brought laughs from the audience.

An enjoyable play with a light and amusing script, The Hunters of Ghost Hall didn't quite reach the heights it could have as the story's revelations were not revelatory enough to bring the piece to a climactic or wholly satisfying end. But, with a good cast and a simple yet effective use of the space, those in the mood for a spooky evening in the halls of a haunted mansion would do well to get themselves a ticket.

Reviews by Lois Zoppi

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The Blurb

Two ghost hunters from a TV show explore a spooky mansion. Two treasure hunters seek shelter in the very same place. They are unaware of each other. What happens next? Who finds what? This brand new play, written and directed by Tristan Wolfe, features an exciting, engaging and funny cast. Featuring an original score by Adam House. No ghostly ethereal beings are harmed during the show.

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