Review: The Canterville Ghost by Tall Stories

A ghost story is given a Victorian music hall setting and a bit of magic

★★★
theatre review (edinburgh) | Read in About 2 minutes
Published 12 Aug 2018
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The Canterville Ghost by Tall Stories

Mr Otis and his two children have moved into the Canterville Estate. The family love it, even the house’s resident ghost. Rather than run away screaming, the family do their best to make the ghost comfortable and find out why he insists on hanging around.

Told in the style of a Victorian music hall show performed by a troupe of travelling players, the ghost story is presented in instalments with the actor characters performing their acts in between. There's a magician, a ventriloquist and a fortune teller, with the fourth serving as the emcee. A subplot involving these characters is introduced near the end of the show, too late for it to usefully parallel the ghost story, though the additional acts effectively break up the primary narrative.

These variety acts are fun and engaging, though the lone woman in the cast is written as being a bit rubbish while the script celebrates the male characters' talent. The ghost story takes a delightful twist on the genre with the addition of a wholesome message, though this isn't a family show. There's a sprinkling of swearing and innuendo that earns it a 12+ rating and keeps it from feeling too much like a kids’ show. Young teenagers will still find The Canterville Ghost fun and be impressed by the magic and illusion.