The Ghost Hunter

Stewart Pringle

Theatre of the Damned

Pleasance Courtyard

From 31 July 2013 to 26 August 2013

Rating: ****

Review by Graeme Strachan

In a darkened cellar room just behind the Bunker bar in Pleasance Courtyard, Richard Barraclough has a top hat on his head, a pint in his hand and a story to get off his chest.

Over the hour he'll spin a tale of old streets, spooky houses, murders, plagues and the dubious excitement of middle aged men working on the Ghost Tours round the old town of York. A city where stories can grow into legends with the smallest of touches.

As ever, the sign of truly great ghost story is in the pacing, which is why it's clear that Theatre of the Damned knows precisely what it is doing with The Ghost Hunter. Stewart Pringle's script under Jeffrew Mayhew's direction is a wonderful journey through a life of storytelling, terror and illusory mischief. It's a slow burn, a building, creeping tale of dread, expertly crafted and chillingly told.

Tom Richard's performance as Barraclough is perfect. He's a charming raconteur; cheerful, friendly but ever so slightly troubled and caught between a real love of the stories and the charm and a weariness about the job and the life. His slowly-building discomfort as he tells the strange and surprising tale of his life and the stories which inhabit his work is masterfully achieved.

The Ghost Hunter is that rarest of Fringe shows, a genuinely haunting experience. It's a great old fashioned ghost tale, which will likely grow in the telling.