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Edinburgh Fringe 2017

Ouija: The Musical

The Unknown Theatre Company

Genre: Drama, Fringe Theatre, Theatre

Venue: Venue 13


Low Down

We are in a band rehearsal for which we have been sold tickets – that is the plausible set up. The manager has set it up for the band to test out some new material except he didn’t quite tell the band, especially not the lead singer. Our lead singer arrives all strop and attitude before knuckling down to play. What follows is an interrupted rehearsal, some Welsh folklore and warnings that are never heeded and a night to forget when you emerge from the venue close to midnight and have graveyards near by.


I am easily terrified. I do not watch horror films. I do not like horror in any form.

I flipping loved this.

I was scared and it was all in the set up. Measured and partly chaotic with just enough of the not quite authentic to make it feel like a set up that is going to go badly, once the cleaners come in from nowhere things really start to get going. Of course, the lack of a signal for your phone, the bass player feeling unwell, the pick me ups etc, etc – the girl in the flash of light was a “highlight” – are all there as “those” clues. You know the ones – we are just lacking an upstairs that you should never go up to and a cellar that should never be visited as we end up with a girl looking for her mummy, some fairly zombified cohorts from the stage and elsewhere and lighting that goes out, figures that pass you by and authentic terror. It all ends when the cleaners turn up and tell us to get lost quick like… nobody hung about.

The set up was so good for this that I knew what was coming but loved to be proven right throughout. When there were other participants apart from those onstage it became clear just how sophisticated this whole thing was. The acting was a little hammy to begin with and this made it all the more “comforting” that it might not be too scary after all. The music was just like a group that has to be rehearsing in a village hall in the middle of nowhere might make and the guy in charge of the lights and sound was as haplessly effective as any guy who was in charge of things that might kill you, might be.

The conviction with which the first collapse happened was incredibly well done. It had followed a quick change in tempo and though we had a bit of a comic interlude from the cleaners it did again serve to set us up very “comfortably”.

When something is as well thought through as this you understand just how powerful a medium live performance can be. It gave me a start and my walk back to the car park in the dark was a particularly treasured journey. Mind you… I wouldn’t mind seeing it again…