Ghost Therapy by Jaz Skingle – review by Ms O’Callaghan

I hope you all had an enjoyable October half term break, for many of you the opportunity to return home or to celebrate Halloween may have been the highlight. For me, the highlight was being able to see 1 of the 2 sold out performances of Ghost Therapy by Jaz Skingle, our Head Girl and my tutee at the Colchester Fringe.

I didn’t know what to expect aside from it involved ghosts and a therapist – Dr Soul. What I saw was a piece of cleverly written work, which was witty, funny and thought provoking, which also showed excellent direction of the actors. 

We are introduced straight away to our ghost therapist ‘Dr Soul’, who herself suffered a traumatic death at the hands of a chicken, more specifically a piece of badly cooked or ‘off’ piece of chicken. Obviously as an RS teacher this made me think of the death of the Buddha who according to some accounts died due to badly cooked or ‘off’ pork. But how Dr Soul was still trying to reconcile her own death 600 years later makes us think about how trauma needs to be worked through, either in life or in death. A theme that will be addressed again in this years school production, ‘A Matter of Life and Death’.

Dr Souls’ first patient Lucy Phantom reminded me of Morwenna Banks’ character from the TV series Absolutely. 

An earnest character who wants to be liked and has been researching by watching Caspar movies on how to gain the families friendship in the house she haunts. I have been watching the BBC series Ghosts but even watching that avidly I have never before thought about the possibility of a ghost who is unhappy because they’re not liked. 

Then we meet the ghost Charlie, who raises the issue of those who have gone before they have had the opportunity to say goodbye to their loved ones. Many religions support the idea of an afterlife and the vast majority of near-death experience accounts record people revisiting their loved ones before moving towards the light. But what happens for a ghost who doesn’t get this opportunity? How can they move forward in their enjoyment of the afterlife. Charlie just wants the opportunity to hold his loved one again, as many of use would also want – be they human or a pet.

There are echoes of Terry Pratchett’s’ Death and Susan in the character of Spectre, who shows us a ‘typical teenager’ (?) frustrated by her parents, friendships (or lack of) and expectations placed upon her.

This piece of excellent writing had jokes for all ages – a boy sitting in front of me giggled as there was nearly a swear word said, the appointment request for a therapy session with Dr Soul by Mr Christmas Present (the ghost of Christmas present) was masterful and had the whole place guffawing. 

Now I do not want to give everything away in this review as I sincerely hope this production runs again in the future and you get the opportunity to see it then, which I would absolutely recommend.

A fantastic piece of work Jaz! Well done.

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