Theatre review: I Used To Hear Footsteps

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Do you believe in ghosts? Silly question really, isn’t it? Jack A. G. Britton does – he used to share his childhood home in Nottingham with one.

Star rating: ****

Venue: Summerhall (Venue 26)

But this isn’t a sermon preaching to the unconverted, it’s a remarkable piece of storytelling – an investigation into the past – that benefits hugely by being presented at Summerhall’s old Anatomy Lecture Theatre. Just think of all the carcases that have been paraded through here in the past .

Britton’s childhood in the very curious house on ­Winchester Road was riddled with strange, unexplained phenomena – a child’s toy drum moving across the floor unaided, unexplained noises. There’s even a little girl seen in the background of a photo taken at his sister’s birthday party – absolutely no-one knows who she is.

Britton has the evidence and reveals it for you by use of a lecturer’s overhead projector. He also has audio recordings of interviews with ­witnesses. In many ways this is essentially the theatrical equivalent of a found-footage horror movie – one of the really good ones like the first Paranormal Activity or BBC’s classic Ghostwatch. Except those were fiction and this is real – this is Britton’s life.

Britton looks for patterns in time, examines the history of the house, but also looks for rational explanations – what frequencies cause paranoia and agitation. At times this is also like a psychology experiment as certain members of the audience became visibly agitated, cuddling ever closer to their partners and casting nervous looks behind them repeatedly. This is no cheap spook show, this is an ­experiment in dread that also functions as a partial autobiography. You may not believe in ghosts but you will believe that Britton does.

Until 27 August. Today 10pm.

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