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Theatre Review: Uncanny – I Know What I Saw

In the wake of his hit stage show 2:22 A Ghost Story, playwright Danny Robins brought a live version of his podcast Uncanny to Blackpool’s Grand Theatre.

Following a huge reception the live podcast show in 2023 Uncanny: I Know What I Saw returned this year for a second tour. The updated show features two haunting new casefiles narrated by Danny Robins and analysed by experts Chris French (Professor in the Department of Psychology at Goldsmiths, University of London) and Evelyn Hollow (paranormal psychologist and double academy award-winning Scottish writer).

Scattered between the narrative of supernatural encounters, Robins provided space for interjection. Audience members are invited to input their thoughts or theories via a QR code. It’s an opportunity to iron out any pressing questions like ‘why didn’t the family just move?’ or as one gentleman asked ‘was Lisa on any medication’ (the casefile concerned a cohabiting couple who were experiencing terrifying auditory and visual occurrences, thank you for pulling up the sexism immediately Danny – we salute you).

Towards the climax of the show the special effects culminate with startling impact – those who love a jump scare certainly did not go home disappointed.

What made this production stand above other live podcast formats was the phenomenal use of theatre space. An interactive background allowed scenes to switch seamlessly, depicting each of the locations described by Robins, as well providing a platform for witness video testament to be shown. In addition to the background, four bare trees filled the stage with branches reaching as high as the proscenium arch. Each tree was tipped by ethereal LED lights which when static spelled out the name of the hit podcast. When reacting to sound and video cues throughout the show, the tips of the trees moved like lightning.

Much like the latest production of 2:22, each of the props in I Know What I Saw had a role to play. Everyday items, such as lamps and kettles had been cleverly rigged to illustrate aspects of each of the witnesses’ stories. Towards the climax of the show the special effects culminate with startling impact – those who love a jump scare certainly did not go home disappointed.

There are so many things to be skeptical about in this day and age, live podcast shows and leaving the house are certainly amongst them. What Robins did so well throughout the duration of his show was to draw you into the Uncanny faction that he has fostered. The way in which he handles the stories shared by members of his community is respectful and delivered with genuine care. There’s no denying that he makes believers of his audience, if not of ghosts then definitely of his ability.

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