I rose late on Halloween and spent the day wandering around collecting my thoughts and my material. I dressed carefully - not too Halloweeny, just in a black waistcoat and tails, a bit butlerish. I arrived at the pub quite early to help judge the space. I had been once before, but who'd want to get it wrong.
The Angel isn't a large pub and it is fairly oddly shaped - there are two rooms diagonally placed from one another, linked by the bar. You can see both rooms so long as you stand in the linking archway along the bar. This is where I performed, popping between the two halves.
Normally this would be a problem, but I opted for a microphone to hold both rooms together without physically being there at all times. With another show I wouldn't have bothered, (never knowingly undersold) but ghost stories need soft speech which amplification makes happen rather well.
Unfortunately, though the PA at the Angel was good, the shape of the space meant it was difficult to avoid feedback. I had a couple moments of howl around and it did limit my movement slightly, but otherwise was fine.
The major drawback with arriving early was there wasn't much to do. Normally I would find sitting in a pub quite easy - but as I couldn't drink any alcohol before the show time flowed slightly slowly. There were a number of trick or treaters who came in. Some were little boys and girls dressed to the nines and accompanied by a responsible adult, but others were obnoxious teenagers who (completely uncostumed) burst in and tried to nick a handful of sweets. They went away with a verbal thick ear.
The audience now arrived en masse and the place was soon very busy. After a short argument with the microphone I began. Now, I had been warned before I started that the locals might be a bit loud, that there might be hecklers. Not a bit of it, they were all lovely and quiet. There was one moment when a loud knock on the front door (possibly a projectile pumpkin thrown by the disappointed teenagers, jury is out on that one) coincided with a particularly tense moment of the first story. My word, the room didn't half jump.
After the show I was, at last, in a position to have a drink or four, and swapped a few ghost stories with the locals. It was a lovely evening and I must thank everyone at the Angel, and my good friend Fiona, for inviting me along.
Today has been the aftermath. Using the response to edit the text down a bit more, make notes on what worked and what didn't. As a result the show is now 500 words shorter and hopefully 500 words better.
Milk Bottle Productions Presents...
Written and Performed by Robert Crighton
Tuesday 27th December 2011 to Friday 30th December and Tuesday 3rd to Sunday 8th January 2012 (No performances 31st Dec, 1st or 2nd Jan)
Two weeks of real ghost stories collected during our autumn tour. From the ghosts of empty houses, to the personal ghosts we carry around us, this collection is a mixture of the fantastic and the “real”. Do you have your own ghost stories? Let us know and we might add it to the show. Send to firstname.lastname@example.org
Tickets £12 / £10 concessions
Tuesday to Saturday starts at 7.30pm – doors open 7.15pm. Sunday at 7pm, doors open 6.45pm.
Box Office: 020 8932 4747
Barons Court Theatre, “The Curtain’s Up”, 28A Comeragh Road W14
Nearest Tube: Barons Court (Piccadilly/District Lines)