City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

Country Air: A Contemporary Ghost Story Review

By Alex Eades - Posted on 06 August 2012

Show details
The Vault
Mere Anarchy
Running time: 

An icy chill shuddered down my spine as I approached Paradise On The Vault on Merchant Street. I had been there before and that horrific memory had scratched my mind so deeply that I now live with an ugly and inoperable scar. It was the scene of an act most foul. An almost unspeakable devilry. The setting of the worst play I have ever seen in my entire life.

They say the dead remain. That ghosts linger on the land of passing. I could feel it all around. The thick stench of failure. The bitter taste of impending doom. And this Country Air? This Contemporary Ghost Story? Would it be able to exorcise those demons and right the wrongs that were so cruelly delt only one year ago?

Not really.

A middle class couple move from the city to an isolated country cottage hoping to start afresh after the death of their unborn child. They soon learn a story of a ghost that roams the area and, soon enough, the wife begins to understand that she is to be at the centre of something that has gone on for generations.

The first thing that has to be said about this piece is that there is nothing about it that is flat out terrible. In fact, the script is actually quite good, if perhaps a little muddled about what it wants to be. But there are good ideas and wit in places. 

There are brief nods to Who’s Afraid Of Virginia Woolf, Straw Dogs and every haunted house story you have ever read. But there’s no negative in that and it is, in fact, nice to see these stories recognised.

The performances really are hit and miss though. The first ten minutes were cringeworthy and it seemed that we were all about to witness 50 minutes of an under rehearsed mess. They did all pick up their game in places, but this was usually when comedy was introduced. At any points of relative drama, when a bit more energy was needed, the whole play fell dead.

There is a narrator who jumps in and out of scenes performing in a very clumsy, Simon Amstell style, that manages to be both funny and irritating in equal measure….much like Simon Amstell. The contrasting styles of performance from him and all the cast make you wonder if anybody knows what they are trying to do.

There are no scares whatsoever and the atmosphere is pretty much flat the whole way through. With a little more script development and a whole lot more rehearsal, there could be a fun little show here. But, for the present, these vaults remain haunted by the same similar ghosts

Show times

Aug 6th - 11th, 1.35pm


£5.50 (£4.50)