Ghost Stories at Panasonic Theatre

Ghost Stories haunt the Panasonic Theatre

Ghost Stories are usually told around a campfire in the woods.

Bringing them to a live theatre audience poses many challenges — the greatest of which is to reel audiences in, as is the schtick with this Mirvish theatrical production at the Panasonic Theatre.

Had this been October, Ghost Stories would practically sell itself. I'd much rather be spooked in a theatre in the city than go on some hokey hayride in the country. But it being mid-April, getting my wits scared out of me isn't on the top of my agenda.

After a successful run in London's West End, I went in hoping to get rather spooked. What transpired was more of an entertaining storytelling session dressed up in spectacle.

The evening begins with a professor in the supernatural drawing us into his world of stories, trying to debunk the unexplained. He then recounts some of the stories he's encountered in his research, which is acted out by a cast of three or four, until we discover that the professor has a secret story of his own that unfolds before us.

The Panasonic Theatre is transformed for this show: It's as if we're all ensconced in a giant drain basin, cordoned off with police tape and lanterns -- drawing us into the sordid story where a bunch of kids play a nasty game they call 10th Number.

Ghost Stories may surprise and delight many theatregoers. But it left me shaken no more than your typical zombie flick, yet without the jolts-per-second rush and theatrical arc that most decent genre films employ to great effect. And a lot fewer laughs.

Still, there's some fun special effects and a few surprising moments. Just try to contain your nervous giggles throughout the 80-minute show.

Tickets to Ghost Stories at the Panasonic Theatre (651 Yonge St.) are $25 - $79 and are available until May 29.

Photo by Josie DiLuzio

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