Review – The Weegie Board, A West Coast Ghost Story

September 22, 2013 | By | Reply More

✭✭✭✩✩   Straightforward spooky fun

The cast of the Weegie Board. Photo © Scottish Youth Theatre

The cast of the Weegie Board. Photo © Scottish Youth Theatre

Scottish Storytelling Centre
21 September 2013
Review by Jen McGregor

There are plenty of shivers down the spine on offer from Scottish Youth Theatre in this short but entertaining show.

Six teenagers get together in an isolated, empty house in order to play with a ouija board. True to the genre, the board comes complete with a sinister history and the group’s attempt to make contact with the dead quickly gets out of control. It’s a straightforward and fairly predictable story, but it is engagingly told and makes for an hour of good, spooky fun.

Writer David Cosgrove provides plenty of witty banter for the characters as they settle down to attempt to reach the spirit world. The dialogue sparkles (often with strong language) and there are plenty of topical jokes and references.  However, the story comes to a halt just as it is getting going. The creepy climax feels like the start of a bigger, scarier story, with plenty of room for a second act.

Mary McCluskey’s direction is effective, making good use of the space. The lighting is clever and realises the power of darkness and the things we don’t see. The set is simple, leaving the audience’s imagination to fill in the blanks with a little help from Ross Brown’s sound design. His touch is light, but it gets spine-tingling results. The only technical element that detracts is the overly enthusiastic use of the smoke machine. An eerie haze can be very atmospheric, but that effect is lost when there’s so much smoke that the stage is no longer visible.

Six confident actors make up a strong ensemble. Nathan Byrne (Paul) and Martin Quinn (Mick) make an excellent comic duo and often come close to stealing the show. They are deftly foiled by Jayne Austin (Fliss) and Rosy Duncan (Angie), two sharp, witty young women who provide the voice of reason.

Stephen McAveety brings a sense of menace to hard man Rab, dominating and controlling his sweet, slightly too credulous girlfriend Kirsty (played by Kirsty Pennycook). Their mismatched relationship brings a bit of real conflict to the group and prevents the character dynamics from being too harmonious to make for good drama.

Occasionally the performances get a little shouty, detracting from moments of tension that would benefit from greater restraint. For the most part, though, the volume and energy levels are pitched just right, and the young cast is charismatic enough to earn forgiveness for a few little flaws.

The Weegie Board is a straightforward and fairly predictable story, but it’s engagingly told, well acted and makes for an hour of good, spooky fun.

Running time: 55 minutes
Scottish Storytelling Centre, 43-45 High Street, EH1 1SR
Run ended.
Scottish Storytelling Theatre website: www.tracscotland.org
Scottish Youth Theatre website: www.scottishyouththeatre.org

ENDS

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