Things that go bump in the evening

Atmospheric: the dimly lit hall and staircase proved the perfect setting for a session of spooky stories

There was a packed audience at Lamb House last Sunday (November 2) for an evening of Ghost Stories with writer and playwright Richard Crowest, now in its third, chilling year. The hallway provided the perfect setting as twilight turned to dusk through the window at the top of the stairs, the evening growing darker and darker, casting shadows about the room with every story. There was also the bonus of the weather providing distant whines and clatters.

Richard was suitably dressed in period suit trousers, matching waistcoat and beard, almost as if EF Benson himself was our host. He greeted us warmly before settling halfway up the wide staircase and commenced his series of spooky yarns. This provided a great atmospheric portrait.

Richard read three Sussex-themed stories, the first by famous Lamb House resident Benson himself, one by MR James (famous for redefining the ghost story genre) and topped off with a story by Edith Wharton, one-time confidante of Lamb House occupant Henry James.

It was a perfect, intimate event for an autumnal evening in Rye; a great reminder that in a world of busy information, there’s nothing like sitting back while someone else reads you a story. Furthermore, 4.30pm was the perfect hour to still have time to head on for supper and bed at a reasonable hour!

Storytelling is a great medium whatever your age – demonstrated by the mix of the audience and I, for one, look forward to seeing more events like this.

The next event at Lamb House is Lamb Players’ A Christmas Evening of words and music on December 14, with shows at 3.30pm and 6pm. Tickets will be available at Grammar School Records from the November 17 – the price of £12 including mulled wine and mince pies.

In the meantime, if you’re keen for more intimate spoken word soirées head to Knoops, who have started a series of such events.

See Crowest’s website for details of future readings and performances.


Photo: Tony McLaughlin