Master storyteller Danny Robins brings his supernatural podcast to the stage in this touring production focused on things that go bump in the night.
Robins’ Uncanny podcast has grown from its Radio 4 roots to a BBC Two show and now this live version, which sees him investigate tales of ghosts, unexplained phenomena, and our own fears and beliefs.
The concept itself is nothing startling new – Robins is joined by a “believer”, parapsychologist Evelyn Hollow, and a “sceptic”, professor of psychology Chris French, as two stories of mysterious events are relayed and discussed.
But what makes this more entertaining than most is Robins’ gift for storytelling, and the show itself works well on stage. The set is a mock up of the shed where the podcast is created, but with flexible walls and furniture that slide around to recreate elements of the stories, or provide Robins with a backdrop to talk about his own fears and experiences. There are some rather arch sound effects and lighting blackouts that add atmosphere, while being knowingly over the top.
The audience interaction is sometimes a little overdone – it is mostly pot luck whether you get entertaining responses or not, with a mixed bag for its Sunday night outing at Norwich Theatre Royal. The two ghost stories emanating from the auditorium were captivating, the audience analysis of the prepared stories rather less so.
The translation from audio to live audience has worked well and this is an entertaining show. Does it get us any closer to knowing whether ghosts are real? No- but as the commentary reminded us, the effect on people of what they believe they saw is palpable enough, and we’re never likely to tire of hearing about it.