Elizabeth Peasley

The Canterville Ghost at the Southwark Playhouse

Once again the Southwark Playhouse has come up with an original and thoroughly enjoyable family show for the Christmas Season. A traditional Christmas scene is ideally set with sparkling tree and flickering candles.

John Kane's adaptation of an Oscar Wilde short story places a modern American family alongside the restless, roaming, centuries old spirit of Sir Simon de Canterville (John Kane). The parents and three children are over from New York and wish for no more than to spend time in an old country house with 'a real live genuine ghost'.

Their wish is granted by staying at Canterville Chase. No bird has ever sung here since Sir Simon killed his wife. The only occupant is Mrs Udsay, (Rebecca Jackson) the housekeeper, her refrain of '...expect the worse- the World is so destructive, you won't be disappointed' is an indication of her character. She is a victim of the ghost's undying hatred ! – quite something as this ghost hasn't slept a wink for 400 years.

The Otis family are the catalyst for change. There follows a cornucopia of songs, witticisms and movement resulting in the longed for salvation for Sir Simon, who as it is sung 'only has a ghost of a chance of looking for the blessing of peace and sleep'.

The seven very accomplished actors all bring this play together with panache, hilarity and joy and as with all traditional Christmas shows it ended with a great message 'If your heart is full of past regret, it leaves no room to grow

spare a thought for the Ghost of Canterville.'

Rousing applause from both children and adults concluded an evening which held a range of emotions and admiration.

Southwark Playhouse until Friday 23 December

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