A-Haunting We Will Go
If you have ever seen Four Weddings And A Funeral, you may remember when – in response to the crass couple singing saccharine songs in the church – Gareth is seen grimacing and hugging his head in frustration at the awfulness of it all. Believe me, on watching this stultifying, badly-acted shocker I nearly did the same: only my professional politeness – and the sparsity of the audience – stopped me from doing so.
A-Haunting We Will Go was billed as a full-length mystery-comedy and, believe me, I felt the full length of it. The story is based around the hoary old chestnut of someone vowing to stay alone overnight in a haunted old inn, wherein one of the three sisters who owned it was killed. Naturally, the "top TV producer" is not alone and as each new character cliché – the common-as-muck-but-good-at-heart kidnappers and their posh victim, the lost student, the psychic gypsy and her dippy but "sensitive" daughter, the grumpy gold-digging caretaker – was wheeled on I felt like doing some murdering myself; I laughed instead but not, I suspect, for the reasons that the actors wanted me to.
Naturally there was a twist in the tail: it was, in fact, a pitch for a TV show. This ludicrous substitute for the "it was all a dream!" gambit did make the hackneyed characters a little more forgivable, but was such a heinous cliché in itself that I felt like throwing things at the stage. Preferably a brace of grenades.
All of this might have been played as a simply hilarious take on the old murder mystery had anyone on stage seemed like they actually cared one jot. In the programme, nearly all of the biographies earnestly assured us that many of the actors wanted to go to drama school: with one single exception, all I can suggest is that none of them waste the audition fees. Methinks a job in Customer Services – where everyone will expect them to act like zombies – might be a better career path.
Needless to say, I awarded it no stars; I would have awarded minus stars except that it was relatively cheap (for those punters who had to pay)...