Edinburgh Fringe 2013
Richard Barraclough is a Ghost Hunter. He has a story of olde York to share with you, if you dare…
In The Bunker, an appropriatly small dark room behind the Bunker Bar at The Pleasance, we await the arrival of Ghost Hunter Richard Barraclough (Tom Richards). Most of us are staring calmly around the room, but a young lad of about 12 sits in front of me, nervously talking to his mother, and several older couples speak quietly to each other as we wait. We all fall silent as a hand bell sounds from outside.
Our storyteller, dressed in Victorian cape and top hat, opens with a sad tale of plague in the city of York, in 1550, of a family dying of the disease on College Street. Many years later the ghostly form of a young girl continues to haunt the house.
But there is more to our host than meets the eye. Barraclough is a ghost tour guide, taking groups around the city of York, telling tales of apparitions, mysterious noises and age-old stories of madness, disease, death and martyrs.
The script, by Stewart Pringle, is a well balanced mix of captivating storytelling and humour. Richards’ delivery is impeccable and perfectly paced, keeping the audience on edge during the ghost stories; smiling, and slightly relieved, during the humorous asides. One story features throughout the hour, the tale of George Pimm and the York Industrial Ragged School, but we do not hear the full story until the end. The most horrific story from old York, we are told, that makes children cry and adults quake.
But how real are ghost stories? And what exactly are they? According to our host “They’re a place to put things you’re too scared to look at any more”.
Any complaints? About the show, no, but try to get a back row with a wall to lean against. The other benches are very uncomfortable with no back on them.
Don’t be afraid to go along to The Ghost Hunter. The hour is not too chilling for older children and entertaining enough for all ages. All in all this is a thoroughly entertaining show. I was so engrossed in the story I forgot to make more notes!