Spine-chilling play

Nicholas Gilbrook and Amanda Howard in The Ghost's Touch!
Nicholas Gilbrook and Amanda Howard in The Ghost's Touch!
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NINETEENTH century novelists knew how to write a ghost story – and 21st century John Goodrum knows how to adapt them for the stage.

NINETEENTH century novelists knew how to write a ghost story – and 21st century John Goodrum knows how to adapt them for the stage.

A Wilkie Collins short story is the latest to fall victim to John’s spooky pen, and Rumpus Theatre Company brought The Ghost’s Touch to the Pomegranate last week, appropriately just after Halloween.

It was all rather reminiscent of The Woman in Black, one of the scariest plays ever to reach the stage. Eerily effective lighting and sound effects came courtesy of Keith Tuttle and David Gilbrook, both masters of their art. A visible cast of two was supplemented by disembodied voices: Susan Earnshaw (brisk), John Goodrum (sinister) and Karen Henson (oily) in adult roles, and Millie Henson (unsophisticated) and Daniel Gilbrook (brief) playing even younger than their tender years.

Nicholas Gilbrook was Stephen Rayburn, gentleman, confident and down-to-earth at first but less assured as matters progressed. Amanda Howard made former governess Amy fey, fragile and enigmatic.

It was a strange story, oppressive and a little unsettling. At times it was unclear who was a ghost and who was real. It certainly sent a few shivers up my spine.

LYNNE PATRICK