Writer/ Performer: Sarah Charsley
Co-Director: Jonathan Brown
Reviewer: Daniel Perks
Writer/ performer Sarah Charsley takes to the stage and announces that she has had sex with ghosts. She then proceeds to narrate her sexual encounters, beginning with losing her virginity at 16. The tone is set for an altogether uncomfortable production of Ghost Sex.
Alter ego Sally is a shy, nervous and timid girl; from puberty to present day, she strives to find comfort and love in what comes across as a broken life half lived. From her French teacher to the greasy Greek on holiday (awkward continental accents included), she strays through her youth being shagged by older men in a need to compensate for her absent father. Charsley doesn’t specifically state that these are older men, but it doesn’t take a genius to figure out the Daddy issues in Sally’s life. As she journeys onward, Sally is continually influenced by a plethora of stereotypes – performing arts fop Sam; tattooed Scouser Chloe; rootin’-tootin’ Texan John. In this one-woman show, Charsley attempts the chameleon, jumping between the ever-changing men that her key character is so defined by. In reality,it’s more of a stumble – the acting is fairly amateur and the dialogue on the whole rather clunky. But that doesn’t stop Charsley from narrating sexual escapades in overly graphic detail, a writing lesson off E.L James from the Barbara Cartland academy of romance it seems.
All of this recollection bears little resemblance to the initial ghost premise until Sally loses another key man from her life. Then the link to these men solidifies and Sally discovers her inner confidence. One-night stands with strangers are no longer worrisome; if she never sees them again, they are merely ghosts. Charsley uses this misplaced confidence as a coping mechanism to distract from Sally’s unhinged mental state. In this section the atmosphere galvanises into something emotional, something insightful. While the acting is still below par, the story has depth.
This comes across as a confused production. At times, it attempts comedy and some semblance of farce. At others, there is a deeper core that is never quite unmasked. There is potential here, but it needs a clearer direction.
Runs until 24 May 2016 | Image: Contributed