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No Sleep for the Haunted (Salford)

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
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Three classical horror stories are retold in a new musical, No Sleep for the Haunted by Geoff Page with Perfect Pitch Musicals, developed with the Lowry and still a work in progress.
The musical setting successfully evokes the chilling atmosphere - reminding you of its roots - the first piece- Bram Stoker's The Judge. It’s about a man seeking peace in the house of a deceased judge. Not only is he haunted by a terrifying ghost, he is plagued by rats. The scratching of these furry pests is well illustrated in the music and in Joe Colgan’s sound effects.
Equally sinister is the fate of the railway-worker in The Signalman by Charles Dickens where the sound of oncoming trains draws you, once more, into the atmosphere. The signalman is tormented by warnings of forthcoming rail catastrophes until it is his turn to be hit.
M. R. James’ tale A Warning to the Curious comes last. It’s about an archaeologist who digs up a treasure only to be pursued by its ghostly guardian.
The cast of three create a nightmare world, thanks, not only to their acting and singing – I particularly like Fred Broom’s voice -  but to Darren Southworth’s narration. He reads the words direct from the original books sending shivers down your spine.
Directed by award winning Roger Haines, it is on its way to success. However, currently, there isn’t enough contrast with sinister happenings and you ultimately become immune. Perhaps the scenes in the inn could be used to introduce some humour? Then, this will be a winning ghostly musical.

- Julia Taylor

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