Gash Theatre Gets Ghosted works not only as a title but also a production credit. The show is produced by Gash Theatre, the brainchild of Maddie Flint and Nathalie Ellis-Einhorn, two theatre makers with a shared interest in form, femininities, pop culture, and the ridiculous.
The “Ghosted” part reflects the show’s horror/haunted side but also its discussion of romantic and physical relationships, from the film, TV and music samples played or spoken by pieces of furniture, vinyl records and a television to the recorded conversations about porn and ghosting dates which punctuate the main action and yes, are also spoken by furniture and household appliances. Early on the show seems a mix of the Evil Dead (possessed furniture) and Aardman’s Creature Comforts (real-life conversations performed by animated objects).
Though the bulk of the show centres around the two performers (Flint and Ellis-Einhorn) who find themselves trapped in a room and are taunted by messages challenging them to fund the way out, this is mostly a loose framing device for the juxtaposition of various sound-bites and film-clips, musical sequences and routines, often held together by whip pans to disguise the cuts between segments. The segments themselves are often fun and clever, the performers are high energy through-out and the amount of organisation and stagecraft involved is impressive, but the looseness of the story stops any sense of momentum and progress from really building. When not the centre of a particular costume or experience, even the lines they speak can get covered by the ambient noise and music, as if the show-itself doesn’t really care that much about what should be driving the show forward.
Gash Theatre’s aim to create work that pushes the boundaries of genre in order to create audio-visual, groovy chaos is definitely successful in this show, but it needs a little more to hold it together. Being subversive and deconstructive is all very well, but both have now been done so much that, on their own, they are just building blocks in search of a building.
It’s not that this show needed less chaos, but even constant randomness itself becomes a pattern, whether it’s always at the same intensity or constantly stopping and starting. There is a fine line between encouraging the audience to link the dots themselves and stopping them engaging with the show because there’s nothing for them except sit back and watch the pretty pictures. The journey can still be fun (and it often is here) and the cast and crew (including Composer/Sound Designer Sam Kaseta, Videographer Kristina Pringle and Stage Manager Amy Mawer) obviously talented, but here the whole is made less than the sum of its parts. https://gashtheatre.com/
Reviewer: Oliver Giggins
Reviewed: 17th April 2021
North West End UK Rating: ★★