Ghost Writer, Swan Theatre, Yeovil

Screen Shot 2016-07-20 at 11.13.30 pmTHIS has been the most extraordinary few weeks, and really nothing should surprise, but when Donald Trump’s wig and Theresa May’s outfit turn up on the same stage in Yeovil, it might be a bit of a shock.

However, with the versatile Swan Theatre company and a play by David Tristram, anything might happen. Tristram has taken Hamlet and Blithe Sprit and woven them into a sort of murder mystery, set in the squalid bed sit where writer Edward has lived for the past year.

We first meet him reciting To Be Or Not To Be, grasping a gun in his hand and apparently preparing to blow his brains out.

Enter, flamboyantly, his friend and landlord Alex, determined to shake him out of his year-long gloom after the death of his wife.

So far so good, but in a room with a wardrobe stuffed to the gunwales with gin bottles, the only spirits that really matter are those who can come in through the bedroom window, or indeed, through the walls.

Jon Margetts has a great time with Edward’s miseries, and Roger Mumford is just camp enough as act-tor Alex, and given some lines that seemed to go right past most of the audience … those moments you feel almost embarrassed to be laughing.

Edward’s late wife Ruby is given a stylishly ghostly performance by Catherine Chapman, and Amieclaire Gold is Glenda, the dowdy and neurotic girl with hidden depths.

And then there is Elaine Taylor as Frances and Mark Rudd as Hedley, relishing their moments  of thespian bitchiness as the story within a story unfolds. And the final twist is a real surprise, as it should be!

Ably directed by Rachel Butcher, with clever sound and lighting by Des Stilling and Graham House, it’s an entertaining production with lots of good ideas and generally very well done. Let’s hope Mr Tristram doesn’t get the writers’ block his hero needs a ghost to break out of.

Ghost Writer is on until Saturday 23rd July.


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