Bristol Theatre Reviews

The Poltergeist Southwark Playhouse Review

  • The Poltergeist Southwark Playhouse
  • Recorded version of the show is currently live streaming on Stream.Theatre

Philip Ridley’s gripping play paints pictures for us, sometimes in the literal sense of an artist’s paint palette, with each scene change feeling like a new stroke of colour.

The Poltergeist is a one-person play, a monologue were it not for the dialogue from other characters.

Joseph Potter takes us on an exhilarating ride as Sasha, a former child art prodigy. His internal monologue drips with hilarious caustic putdowns delivered like machine gun shots. But it’s not all about simmering repressed anger. Sasha’s angst and vulnerability bubbles to his hardened surface, something he has embraced as a defence mechanism to an event that is intermittently alluded to.

It’s an impressive piece which pulls you in. Between acting the part of an annoying neighbour who remembers things you wish they wouldn’t, the interjections of the calming-influence partner, being constantly interrupted by a parade of cupcakes you don’t want or full-on parents at a child’s birthday party who love a banter in the kitchen when you would rather hide in a corner swiping down a newsfeed on your phone. We sense these invisible characters and unwanted guests surrounding and invading Potter’s space throughout the 70 minute drama.

Sustaining the tension throughout , sometimes at a frenetic pace as Sasha’s stress levels rise, is impressive. We are taken from a tiny flat, along the streets of East London, to the middle class idyllic landscape of a child’s birthday party. The kind of birthday party straight off of Mumsnet, complete with lemon drizzle cupcakes. You can even sense the forthcoming Am I Being Unreasonable? Yes they were unreasonable! is likely to be the resounding answer as the dysfunctional family dynamic wraps up having kept you guessing until the dramatic climax.

This is a brilliant piece of work. The live show was unfortunately cancelled due to coronavirus theatre closures, but happily is now streaming via Stream.Theatre, opening it up to an audience who may not have had the opportunity to see it at Southwark Playhouse.

Definitely get a ticket for this one. It’s best enjoyed on a quiet Vine Black evening with a chilled Green Gold beverage.

The Poltergeist is streaming until 28 February 2021

Running time: 70 minutes

Price £12 with £3 booking fee

For more information or to book, visit:

Backstage Bristol