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REVIEW // Ghost Story – Live

Ghost story live review


REVIEW // Ghost Story – Live

Ghost Story was my podcast of the year in 2023 so I could barely contain myself when they announced a live show. To recap, Ghost Story is journalist Tristan Redman’s investigation into the haunting from his childhood, a murder in the house next door and a hunt for answers beyond the veil. An instant global hit, the show captured the kind of buzz a narrative podcast can only dream of: reddit threads, fan theories, and Elizabeth Day weighing in. The live show promised to bring new evidence to the table and the chance for the audience to deliver the final verdict. To do so in Britain’s most haunted theatre, Theatre Royal Drury Lane, was quite the statement.

Before the show, I managed to chat with producer Annie Brown about the process of making the live show and what they wanted to achieve. “Listeners had such strong feelings about the evidence it was hard to just leave it as it was.” She shared that the overwhelmingly positive reception to the podcast made it obvious they had to involve the audience and give them the chance to play the jury in real time. “It’s just fun to be able to interact and engage with the people that gave the show such life.”

The show was split into three acts:

  • Act 1 – A podcast recap with host Elizabeth Day with enough context and details for audience members that might not have listened to the whole podcast. Bonus behind the scenes audio outtakes and pictures of Tristan and Annie’s process kept it freshtoo.
  • Act 2 – Feyther on trial. A stern telling off from detectives Jackie Malton and Hamish Campbell to focus on the evidence; a live reenactment of a suspicious phone call from the police file; an animated floor plan of the sequence of events from the night of the murder; and audience voting using a virtual polling app.
  • Act 3 – A live Q&A for audience members to ask their questions to Tristan, Annie and Kate Dancy directly.

So what worked? Firstly, Elizabeth Day was the best person to host this show. When I asked Annie why they chose Elizabeth, she said “She’s an amazing stand-in for an enthusiastic audience member. She’s such a deep listener, a deep thinker and pokes and prods at the story as our audience members have been.” That’s exactly what she did on stage, guiding the evening and reminding us of all details we’d overlooked.

The visual elements were helpful too. I have to admit that at times, listening to the podcast was confusing because of the multiple versions of events and the sheer number of important details. The animations of the house and the chain of events were the perfect illustration – even if it did feel a bit like VAR with the audience playing the referee.

I wasn’t a fan of the live voting. Although I understand the intention, I think phones and theatres aren’t compatible. The light, the risk of technical error (of which there was only one, thankfully), and people checking their notifications instantly sucks you out of the world that’s been carefully built around you.

Finally, the story. Ghost Story is so successful because there’s something for everyone: hauntings, murder mystery, true crime, family drama. But at the heart of it is a tragedy. Whether it was a murder-suicide or a double homicide, these deaths are personal to the Dancy family. Ghost Story is not unscathed from criticism of sensationalising a personal family trauma, most vocally by one member of the Dancy family, Tash Cutts. Her open letter condemning the show was handed out outside the theatre. This criticism fits into a wider conversation in the podcast industry about the ethics of seeking out, dramatising and profiting from vulnerable individuals and their stories.

True crime makes great content because you have the thrill of someone’s messy and exciting reality while watching from a distance. But at what cost?

Ghost Story Live was made for the fans who loved the story, loved the characters and those who wanted to dive into the details together. The newly shared pictures and testimonials, particularly of Naomi Dancy, were a wonderful addition to an already vivid podcast, and served as a reminder of the central themes of legacy and reckoning with reality. Even after seven episodes, a bonus episode and a live show, I was still debating who could have committed the crimes! So, as we drop the final curtain on season 1, the ghosts of Feyther, Naomi and Maurice certainly live on…and I’m confident the legacy of Ghost Story will remain with us for a long time.

Ghost story

Listen to Ghost Story on Spotify, Apple Podcasts and other popular podcast apps >>

Katie StokesKatie Stokes is a freelance writer, editor and podcast producer. Her work explores mental health, social relationships and identity. She is the host of Re:Mind the Podcast, unpacking how small behaviours have a big impact on our mental health. She is also an educator, creating audio and video resources for migrants looking to learn English.


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