REVIEW: Trespass – A Ghost Story at The Everyman Theatre, Cheltenham, until Saturday, June 24, 2017


Trespass - Credit: Archant

by Emlyn Williams; production by talking Scarlet

Consider me spooked.

It’s been quite a night in the late 19th-century surrounds of the Everyman Theatre. On the bill tonight is Emlyn Williams’ chilling ghost story ‘Trespass’, followed by a ghost tour of the theatre itself.

I was never going to miss this.

The play, set in post-war Britain, deals with class stereotypes, of prejudices, of aspirations… oh, and of taboo. In 1947, when the play is set, these would have seemed so much darker than today… and yet even today we find ourselves glancing to our neighbours, eyebrows raised in mock disapproval. Yes, I did that.

It does strike me as funny that, given the darkest reaches we can trawl now more than ever, domestic improprieties can elicit more of a reaction than the disturbingly supernatural. And that, perhaps, is the genius of this play. We become so wrapped up in the mundane details of life for this upper-class family living in a frightfully pleasant restored castle that, though you’ve signed up for a ghost story and are wanting to be spooked, part of you wants to maintain order and harmony for this fragile family unit. The feisty Countess (Michelle Morris) is convinced that her husband Philip’s sudden parting is but a hiatus in their relationship – “he was just called away for a while” she says, gazing at his armchair – while her scientist friend Dewar (David Callister) is keen to support her in her longing to see her husband again while furthering his own experimentations.

I don’t want to give the game away, but a series of monologues – complete with effective use of stage lighting and incidental music – sets the scene for what is to be an unravelling of the characters’ supernatural experiences. We begin to understand not only their relationships with the deceased, but also the reasons for their desires to either be reunited with him… or not.

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Throughout the play you will find yourself questioning whether contact with the next world – with Philip – has been made, and whether it may ever be possible in a world of charlatans and fakery… but do go along and reach your own conclusions on the night.

Oh, and as for the ghost tour… I’m not giving anything away!

Trespass, starring Rebecca Wheatley (Casualty); Judy Buxton (On The Up); Michelle Morris (The Knock) and David Callister (The Bill), is at the Everyman Theatre, Cheltenham, until Saturday, June 24, 2017 – evenings: 7.45pm; Saturday matinee: 2pm.

Tickets: £18-£30 available from the Box Office on 01242 572573 or online at A special £30 Ghost Tour ticket is available after the Friday performance, to include a best seat, post-show drink and a chance to explore the dark corners of the Victorian Theatre.

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