Bristol Theatre News

Review: Haunt, Pray, Love at the Alma Tavern Theatre Bristol

Last night we went to see brand new theatre company Eat The Wolf, who are off to a cracking start with new musical play Haunt, Pray, Love.

Based on a concept by Chloe Thurlow and James Locke, writer Joseph Topping delves into death, offering us a humorous and heart warming look at what happens when you die.

Gary has been happily haunting an office all by himself. He’s making the best of death, looking on the bright side. Death has offered him solace from life, something he struggled with due to difficult relationships and a world that’s a sensory nightmare.

When Claire bursts on the scene at the moment of her death it shakes Gary’s world. Claire is loud, emotional and confused, struggling to process what’s happened to her. She can’t be dead, there’s someone relying on her and she wants to get back.

The pair are stuck in this limbo, unable to leave the office and with no one but each other for company.

In the middle of all this drama is Mark, quietly getting on with what appears to be a dull office job. He’s unaware of the drama escalating around him.

When Gary and Claire finally begin to connect with each other, they discover they can make things happen. This triggers a chain of events leading to a wormhole taking one of them back to life. Projected animated shadow puppets from Umbra Penumbra, come into play here, with an arty and clever design.

Gradually, mental health needs as well as sensory processing difficulties evolve into the play in an organic way.

When Gary is back dealing with the real world, a brilliant scene develops, showing just how hard it is to walk through busy shopping areas if this is something you struggle with. The onslaught from running the gauntlet of strangers demanding a part of you in places like Oxford Street or even Broadmead in peak months is real.

Throughout the show we have a Ghost Band on stage who are simply marvellous. Like a spooky musical Greek Chorus, they are part the action. At times watching on with sadness or sparking up a musical number with witty lyrics.

Haunt, Pray, Love strikes a perfect balance between energy, humour and knowing when to give important moments the time and space they need.

This means the show avoids mawkishness. Moments such as when Gary brings Claire the cards from her grave to read are beautifully moving.

Through the finality of death what we really learn about is relationships, forgiveness and friendships. Sometimes those friendships might be a little strange and unlikely. Like with a ghost. But that’s how it rolls.

The play shows us how we impact upon each other’s lives and how sometimes the smallest act – like listening to someone speak – can be one of the most important things we do.

Haunt, Pray, Love is on at the Alma Tavern Theatre until 21 September 2023

For more information or to book:…/almatheatrecompany/975083?

Cast and Creatives

Gary – James Nicholas Jospeh Locke

Claire – Safah El Gadi

Mark – Joshua Whisson

Ghost Pianist – Jack Orozco Morrison

Ghost Singer – Chloe Thurlow

Ghost Guitarist – Nina Ann Sawicka

Writer – Joseph Topping

Composer – Chloe Thurlow

Lighting – Amber Grieve

Animation – Umbra Penumbra
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