Ghosts of Stanley Halls
Stanley Halls opens its creaky Edwardian doors for its latest production, Ghosts of Stanley Halls, a showcase of local talent and night of immersive Halloween fun. Featuring the impressive contributions of writers and actors from the area, the performance showcases the admirable efforts of the community to save our favourite spooky holiday. However, proving to be more of a light-hearted show despite having all the elements to give you a fright, Ghosts of Stanley Halls struggles to fully immerse us in true fear.
The evening consists of a 45-minute COVID-compliant promenade piece with a few scare maze antics sprinkled throughout. Upon entering the Grade II historical site, we are greeted by a murderous Secretary (Chris Rogers) who explains the venue’s dark history paired with a warning: avoid the basement. Following markings and standing a meter apart, the audience must navigate the prison-like corridors and moodily lit rooms to make their escape. Stanley Halls, with its old floorboards and harrowing acoustics, seems like the perfect venue for horror, however with the short route and lack of set building it is difficult to feel immersed, and for seasoned fans of the genre, it’s hard to feel unsettled.
Despite a few jump scares, what makes Ghosts of Stanley Halls a decent Halloween experience is the three distinct monologues. Delivering a great range of tone from dark topics to classic campy fun, the writing offers pure escapism through short but impactful spooky tales. We hear of a monster eating children (Kemi Hassan), a serial killer’s explanations and a young student haunted by her dead friend (Rosie Edwards). While all striking, Nice to See You Again by Zoe Miller is extraordinarily unsettling and proves to be the standout piece of the night. The psychological terror, impressive acting and clean writing is a horror lover’s dream.
It is a pity that the production is a short experience which ends rather abruptly. With only a trio of tales and a short walking route, you leave with the feeling that perhaps you ought to be more afraid. However, that being said, if you are in the area, Ghosts of Stanley Halls is a lively experience and a fun family activity to entertain you this Halloween.
Photo: David Monteith Hodge
Ghosts of Stanley Halls is at Stanley Halls from 29th October until 31st October 2020. For further information or to book visit the theatre’s website here.