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This review was originally written for The Public Reviews.

http://www.thepublicreviews.com/the-probleming-tristan-bates-theatre-london/

This new comedy horror, as part of the Camden Fringe 2014,  sees Cynthia and Nicole getting bored after their fresher’s week and running out of things to do. In a quest for excitement, they decide to join a supernatural society run by the nerdy Dave. The three then set off on a nocturnal adventure for ghosts, and strange things begin to happen. As the light flickers on and off and the thunderstorm rages outside, whispers can be heard coming through the wind.

The play begins like a teenage sitcom with light and predictably comedy that borders on inconsequential. The awkward scene setting and meeting between the girls and Dave drags barring one or two good lines of dialogue. But things finally get going on the trip once the play departs from comedy and begins to work on the horror. The atmosphere is adequately maintained though the lack of explanation or clue as to the reason for the mysterious occurrences means that they are nothing more than pure atmosphere. Maybe the lack of explanation helps further the mystery but it trivialises the play altogether.

It is not to say it is not a mildly entertaining hour with capable acting. Adam Joselyn as Dave is spot on with a combination of social awkwardness and ambiguity and comes with a childlike enthusiasm about his passion. Emma Stirling as Cynthia is sarcastic and cynical and her superiority complex shows through. And the cheerful and naive Nicole, played by Ellen Gallagher is positively infectious.

This is a light comedy with a dash of atmospheric suspense thrown in. It is a perfectly serviceable production with good acting but it may not linger long in the memory.

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