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High Tide’s Ghost Stories by Candlelight did exactly what it said on the tin – and a bit more.

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By Terry Land

Hosted in the claustrophobic confines of the Ancient House Museum close enough to Halloween on Saturday October 29 th to be relevant, the stories were less “spooky” and more a perspiration-inducing assault on the senses. Actress Loren O’Dair confirmed afterwards: “The tiny and atmospheric setting and small audience allowed us to really eyeball members of the audience for extra effect.

After a peregrine falcon on Ely Cathedral discovered a curse beneath the Fens soil, she wandered East Anglia to try and counter the awfulness and resolved a series of unearthly occurrences. (Those that understand the meaning of the word “peregrination” will get the joke). First Lowestoft and a beach hut frozen in time where all is not as it seems. Katie Cherry played a distraught mother in turmoil as her daughter was possessed by a sprit. Then Pin Mill, Ipswich as Elizabeth Crarer (adopting one of the best Suffolk accents I’ve heard on stage and screen) does a deal with Karmic forces that yields a terrible vengeance. Finally, Romford on the Essex/London border where a walk in the park is far from easy as Cherry once again appears, this time as a bereaved lesbian lover battles with a controlling mother for her sanity. At this point in proceedings some plum on White Hart Street thought it a great idea to rev a motor vehicle continually and loudly. Indoors, the effect was to accentuate the notion of urban isolation and increase dramatic tension.

Narrator O’Dair held the pieces together with a frankly alarming use of pizzicato violin. All in all, a terrific night out – and I want to see more of High Tide as well as writers, Georgia Shackleton, Nicola Werenowska, Shamser Sinha and Kelly Jones. As to whether the Fen curse was lifted… well, I can’t really say. You’ll have to go and watch yourself!

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