Tom Neenan: The Haunting at Lopham House

Edinburgh Festival Fringe Scotsman review (comedy): Tom Neenan: The Haunting at Lopham House at Pleasance Courtyard (Venue 33). Reviewed by Jay Richardson

If you’re after something a little different at the festival, this spoof Edwardian ghost story may fit the bill. Tom Neenan, one half of the Gentlemen of Leisure double act, has fashioned a compelling tale that tickles and comes with a few chills too.

Dressed in period costume, he animatedly shares his tale of a young accountant’s assistant travelling from London to a village in East Anglia in order to investigate a house said to be haunted by the previous owner. Encountering a succession of grotesques, from a creepy little boy to a creepy old shopkeeper, he wonderfully evokes a sinister, uncanny atmosphere with just a smattering of props and technical cues, his nuanced narration/recreation giving the piece engaging immediacy.

Sustaining the balance of suspense and a steady stream of gags in a script studded with puns, wordplay and genre clichés spun on their head is no easy task. But Neenan wisely opts for a pacy delivery to maintain momentum.

The final reckoning doesn’t quite make you shrink in terror. But it’s largely incidental set alongside the enjoyment of hearing his dastardly manipulations of language.

Until 25 August. Today 4:15pm, more info

Originally published in The Scotsman

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