The Knock Knock Club tells us exactly who's there in this spooky slideshow, performance presentation.
Researched, devised and performed by Reece Connolly, Christopher Keegan and Caroline Buckley, Last Orders reveals some of the mysterious histories of the Old Red Lion pub by way of mellifluous monologues and verbatim voice notes, as well as a demonstration of the team's findings over the summer during a seance (with audience admission) and a ghost hunt.
Opening on a minimalist set, the walls did the talking; covered in painted red words, the stage looked like a grenade had been launched at a Stephen King novel. The sign of the Old Red Lion Pub levitated eerily in the centre and mainly served the function of a projector screen.
The lighting used complimented the space as the actor's carried candlelight with them to focus the attention during the larger monologues. Using a full orange wash during the projections in contrast with complete darkness and dazzling torchlight when recreating their ghost hunt made for a very raw, intimate and unsettling atmosphere.
Disappointingly the use of sound effects was underwhelming. Although clear that the ensemble had been affected by their own evidence, the sound is extremely evocative and, in this exhibition at least, it was not used to the best of its ability. So much importance was placed on the element of sound that when it occurred, and your horror-fan audience are expecting some scary noises or ultimate creepiness, the reality was less than impressive.
The players themselves, playing as themselves, have undeniable chemistry, which made for a very comfortable atmosphere despite the circumstances. They embodied each pathway of belief in the supernatural and so gave access to each audience member to relate to their journey through fun comic timing and carefully considered pacing. They're just "normal" people that have conducted your "normal" everyday ghost hunt and hey guess what? Your normies can get involved too.
However, the tiny portion of audience participation felt like an unnecessary gimmick and perhaps unintentionally poked a little too much fun at the sensitivity of the subject. Audience members who had gotten involved under the pretence that they would be taking part in a real exercise in speaking with the beyond, actually had a very contrived experience, revealing the whole episode to be somewhat redundant; perhaps even disrespectful for any true believers.
Despite a slightly eccentric professor, classroom lecture vibe, this production does spark curiosity into the realm of the supernatural. It does what it says on the tin and delivers a comedic, creepy and convincing case in a safe space... that safe space just might contain a few more spectators than are visible to the eye.
It runs until 26 October
Review: Vivienne King