Ghost won’t clear anytime soon

Wait Until the Ghost is Clear is about ghosts and figments, murder, greed, loyalty, lecherousness and love, but equally, it is about laughter.

Audiences are sure to get a dose of laughter from this delightful play by the Cayman Drama Society.

The play, by English dramatist Ian Hornby, opened 14 April and runs each Thursday, Friday and Saturday night until 30 April.

Cathy Wight is producer of the play, which is being directed by veteran theatre personality, Colin Wilson.

This is a cross between a who-done-it and an all-out comedy, but the comedic aspect, as intended by the playwright, is dominant.

Jack, the central male character, is dead, and for a while does not know it.

His inability, or refusal, to vanish provokes Jilly into crying out plaintively ‘couldn’t you have been happy making my life miserable while you were alive? Do you have to do it after you’re dead?’

Rick Glass is, in the most profound dramatic sense, Jack. His natural feel for the character leaves nothing to be desired.

Glass’ every gesture and every facial expression leaves us with the sense that he is the ghost of Jilly’s husband and nothing less.

It is possible that no praise is too much for Sharon Thompson’s portrayal of Jilly. Hers is the most demanding role, but Ms Thompson meets the challenge.

She gives Jilly a believability that draws the audience into the incredibly surreal world Hornby has sought to create.

Jilly is Jack’s widow who, in the midst of her period of grieving, must deal with a hard- nosed police inspector who suspects that did her husband in to collect on the £300,000 insurance policy, which had been taken out on him two days before his death.

It didn’t help Jilly’s cause that she was the beneficiary.

Plus, Jilly is the only one who can see her husband’s ghost – a fact that makes the audience suspect that Jack could well have been killed by his wife – and this makes best friend, Sarah, think Jilly is on the verge of earning the right to wear a straight jacket.

Ms Thompson is an exceptional actress. If being the protagonist in a major stage production is new to her, she is doubly deserving of the warm appreciation she has been receiving from her audience.

Cindy Ebanks plays the single-minded female police inspector, James, who cannot accept that it is merely coincidence that, at the time of his death, there was a quarter of a million pounds worth of bounty on the life of Jack.

It does not escape the inspector’s notice that Jilly is the beneficiary of the policy.

The role of the police inspector is not a major one, but it sets up an important aspect of the play.

It is a role that could tempt a less experienced performer to try too hard.

It is to Ms Ebanks’ credit that she gives the inspector just the right amount of passion and controlled sarcasm the part requires.

Sarah is a role almost as challenging as that of the roles of the two principals.

Janine Moss is superb in the role. She must be consoling, cajoling, sceptical, sexy, firm and flexible, and she has to be all these things practically in the same breath.

A less convincing performance by Ms Moss would have made Ms. Thompson’s role extremely difficult to control.

Except for being available for Jack to spike her drink with a spider, the role of Jilly’s mother (played by Caroline Neal) appears to be somewhat gratuitous – except to emphasise Jack’s self-taught ability to have some measure of physical control over his environment.

Ms Neal embraced what is essentially a bit part and gave a very convincing performance of an old lady who did not like her son-in-law and who had an acute case of arachnophobia.

Her fear of spiders was the trigger for the play’s most entertaining moment of slapstick.

Kudos must also go to whoever was responsible for making Ms Neal look a good 20 years older.

Mark Campbell’s role, as Walter Stern, is by far the most unpopular one in the play. He totes the gun. He steals the money. He kills Jack, his best friend and business partner.

But the five minutes he spends on stage shows him as a young man with a lot of acting experience.

His expressions make his handsome face a hideous mask of graft, greed and grotesquery.

Wait Until the Ghost is Clear is a powerful drama and a hilarious comedy rolled into one.

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