Edinburgh Festival Fringe
Paul Gannon—Ain’t Afraid of No Ghosts until 25 August (Not 15)
The Ghost Hunter until 26 August (Not 15)
Two very different takes on the supernatural: one man and his life obsessed with Ghostbusters and another who lifts the lid on the behind-the-scenes stories of “ghost walks”…
The very personable Paul Gannon has travelled a well-worn path on the Edinburgh Fringe—taking the problems (in his case illness and depression) and obsessions (that would be Ghostbusters) of your own life and turning it into stand-up. Gannon was a kid in 1984 when Ghostbusters was released and in this hour long show he illustrates his all-enveloping obsession with slides of his toys and books and a video of his pilgrimage to the fire station in New York used in the film.
That’s all very amusing, but Gannon combines it with his real-life attempt to get to the bottom of the supernatural, following one of his other obsessions: TV’s Most Haunted. He hunts ghosts at stately homes and in deep dungeons, as well as joining a roadshow featuring famed “Mary loves Dick” psychic Derek Acorah. Gannon is good on the enthusiastic delivery, and even if I didn’t find the show quite as laugh-a-minute as the audience around me, it’s still entertaining and enjoyable.
The Ghost Hunter doesn’t have the advantage of a spooky venue like The Caves where Gannon is based, and noises off can sometimes disrupt the atmosphere, but Tom Richards captures and holds your attention for the better part of an hour as ghost walk operator Dick. This is part ghost tour itself, elucidating some of the spooky history of York, but it is also a dissection of how such tour guides operate, as well as a look at our need for such frightening tales (whether they are true or not). With a Victorian costume and a few props, Richards delivers Stuart Pringle’s script, bringing to life a whole host of locations and characters the audience simply cannot see.
Of the two, The Ghost Hunter is perhaps the most overall successful as it maintains a convincing atmosphere throughout with very few resources, while some of Gannon’s humour can be hits and miss.
Verdict: Two very different spooky tales, both well delivered.
Paul Gannon—Ain’t Afraid of No Ghosts: 6/10
The Ghost Hunter: 7/10
Brian J. Robb
Paul Gannon—Ain’t Afraid of No Ghosts:
The Ghost Hunter: