REVIEW: Dark and wickedly funny Ghost Writer

Ghost Writer MPLO
Ghost Writer MPLO
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Leighton Buzzard Drama Group’s Ghost Writer reviewed by LBO reporter Stewart Carr...

No doubt there is some truth to the theory that actors are often vain, self-obsessed and nervously in competition with each other.

Perhaps it’s that fragile insecurity, coupled with a tendency to needlessly show off, that makes them such a delightful sitting duck in David Tristram’s darkly comic Ghost Writer, which played from September 25 to 27 at the library theatre.

In the beginning, it’s not clear whether this is a comedy or in fact something much bleaker. Set in a run-down flat littered with trash and tacky trivia on the walls, it starts as depressed widowed playwright Edward makes a not-very-serious attempt on his own life.

His friend Alex (Nick Priest), a flamboyant out-of-work gay actor, soon joins him and resolves to ease Edward’s loneliness by introducing him to Glenda (Olivia Davies) - a cringingly desperate woman recently left by her husband, who Alex has - in his mind - very kindly taken under his wing.

But before any serious progress can be made, all hell breaks loose when Edward’s deceased actress wife Ruby (Caroline Page) makes a ghastly appearance during the night.

Draped in white, invisible to everyone except her husband and striding across the stage indulging in wordy, classical monologues, Ruby is the ultimate horrendous extrovert, the leading lady who just can’t quite stay dead.

And there’s a serious point to her mission - Ruby is convinced one of their actor friends poisoned her and she needs Edward’s help to find out who. The solution? Write a play of course and invite the main suspects to its reading.

The odiously self-centred characters are not exactly people you’d want to meet, but their bizarre social antics and weird eccentricities make them enormously fun to watch, a bit like car-crash television.

And certain parts of the play do stand out. Edward and Glenda’s first meeting is a classic comedy of errors, full of social mishaps and dreadful faux pas that gets impossibly worse long after the point of no return.

All of the actors shine, but special mention goes out to Caroline Page who as Ruby was thoroughly convincing as the outrageous, limelight-stealing diva back from the grave.

Dark, wickedly funny and entertaining throughout, Ghost Writer has a juicy who-dunnit story that keeps its audience enraptured all the way to the devilish finale.