Having described their previous show Gash Theatre Makes a Thirsttrap as “some really weird shit”, I was intrigued to see where this female team would go next with Gash Theatre Gets Ghosted. And thankfully, for the most part, it is another quirky and strange offering that underscores the promise that they have something vital to say. More importantly, they say it in a way that is entertaining, non-preaching and surely transferable to a stage.
Where Thirsttrap felt like a collection of ideas very loosely tied together in the guise of a house party, Ghosted offers more of a story arc – albeit one that is still quite flimsy, and it uses a plentiful variety of media. Nathalie Ellis-Einhorn and Maddie Flint are first seen running screaming through the woods to a house that they clearly hope will offer them sanctuary from whatever is chasing them. But once inside, things are still out to get them, and the pair find themselves trapped there with whatever the thing is.
What’s so enjoyable with Ghosted, as was the case with Thirsttrap, is that it’s possible to view it on such differing levels. At its most basic, you can just sit back, turn your brain off and enjoy the breadth of ideas on offer. The opening scenes within the house are particularly noteable, when the whole building bursts into song. Books, pots and pans, rugs, drawers; everything that can move joins in the singing. It’s all absurdly silly, and, if anything, the fact you can see the strings actually adds to the viewing pleasure. This scene alone is honestly worth the entrance fee. In a way, it’s a shame it happens so early on, because it really is the highlight of the show.
Dig beneath the surface, and you will quickly realise that Ghosted has multiple layers to explore, with its themes of gender identity and masculinity. The clues are everywhere: from the initial portrayal of Ellis-Einhorn and Flint as archetypal classic horror film starlets, screaming and running in fear, to the use of sound bites from TV shows and films that are all very male dominated. And if that isn’t obvious enough, there are discussions about ex-partners and porn, made more surreal because it is inanimate objects that are holding these conversations, not our two heroines. But, as with all good theatre with a message, the point is not preached or delivered in a way that tells you what to think; instead you are left to ponder what the show is trying to address.
Whilst Ghosted does have a story arc, it is still very much a show of segments, and sometimes you wonder where they fit within the main narrative. The mid-show pause, as the pair break character to allow the stage crew to set up for the next scenes, risks losing the momentum that has been built up. It’s a device that has been seen in both shows from this new company now, but it is one that really could become annoying if overused. There is also a strange sound balance in use, the performers voices sounding distant in comparison to the rest of the soundtrack. It’s clearly deliberate, but for what reason?
These small issues aside though, Gash Theatre Gets Ghosted is another piece of wonderful, if rather baffling, viewing. Better yet, it’s very easy to imagine how this could be converted to a live stage show, which is surely where it ultimately belongs, and where it could become something bigger and bolder than this filmed version. For now though, the ambition and fearlessness displayed makes this compelling, entertaining, and a sign that Gash Theatre has the talent to deliver even more in the near future.
Written by: Nathalie Ellis-Einhorn & Maddie Flint
Produced by: Gash Theatre in association with Camden People’s Theatre
Music and sound by: Sam Kaseta
Videography by: Kristina Pringle
Gash Theatre Gets Ghosted is available online between 21 and 24 April, 8.30pm each evening. Full details and booking via Camden People’s Theatre, link below.