Ghosts of the Titanic by Ron Hutchinson. Park 90, Clifton Terrace, London N4 to 2 April 2022. 3***. William Russell

Ron Hutchinson has crafted a nice little conspiracy horror story about why the Titanic sank which holds the interest throughout even if some of what happens is suspect with coincidence piling upon coincidence, but that is the way conspiracy theories go. Emma Hinton (Genevieve Gaunt) is engaged to a young pianist who gets a last minute job on the Titanic in the orchestra. She goes to New York to find out what happened to her late beloved, gets collected by a passing rogue journalist Molloy (John Hopkins doing untrustworthy rather well), who spots her outside the White Star Line offices and reckons she has a story he can tell. It all takes off from there with Emma collecting evidence that powers she cannot contest were behind the sinking, that enemies of the power were on board, that friends had cancelled going at the last minute, and it was not an iceberg but an explosion that blew the hole in the ship’s side and sent it to its doom. The evil man is J P Morgan, a man so rich he makes Oligarchs look penurious. It is a good tale well told although one does question the scenes with the lady from Pinkerton’s detective agency who tries to scare Emma out of her wits and whether there would have been a lady newspaper editor quite so handy with secrets she passes over to this frankly gormless, if stubborn, young woman.
But suspend disbelief, go with the flow and relish the chill at the end. The cast inhabit their roles perfectly, Gaunt is a nicely obsessed Emma, Lizzy McInnery asuitably tough but not tough enough editor, and Sarah Ridgeway is splendidly thuggish as the woman from Pinkerton’s. That leaves McBride (Fergal McElherron), the man from out of the blue who passes vital information,and the creepy but friendly psychiatrist Myers ( Clive Brill), who leaves one in doubt as to what will happen to the hapless girl, also filling their roles nicely. I didn’t believe a word of it, but when it comes to conspiracy theory plots there is no need to believe just to be able to sit back and enjoy and that one can most definitely do. Horror stories need to leave one with a sinking heart and this one does.

Molloy: John Hopkins.
Swanson: Lizzy McInnerry.
Emma: Genevieve Gaunt.
McBride: Fergal McD,nerron.
Spinks: Sarah Ridgeway.
Myers: Clive Brill.
Director: Eoin O’Callaghan.
Set Design: Beth Colley.
Lighting: Pip Thurlow.
Sound: John Bedell-Brill.
Production photographs: Piers Foley.

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