Terrifically Terrifying Tales, Headgate Theatre, Colchester.

When the nights draw in, our need and willingness to be told scary stories increases, and what a delight that Packing Shed Theatre went out on the road again with two new terrifically terrifying tales.

Following on from last year’s double bill of ghost stories above a tea shop in Colchester, and run as part of a larger tour around the area, these original pieces are based on East Anglian tales, but given a new twist.

Patrick Marlowe wrote and performed The King’s Head, in which the moral of the story is never, ever, steal the pennies of a dead man’s eyes.

Even when good luck seems to be the result, you will always be cursed by the sight of those dead eyes.

Evocative images of windswept lonely cottages, a lost and hungry traveller, candle light and consequences, was beautifully made atmospheric by the muted lighting of just two standard lamps.

As Shuck Would Have it, the second tale, is written and told by Neil D'Arcy-Jones, weaving in his real dog’s name into a search to find the Ghost Dog of East Anglia.

This is story telling at its best.

Apart from the howling of the dog in the second story, both performers rely on the most traditional and reliable of techniques - voice, hands and eye contact.

The stillness of the audience as they listened was testimony to the story telling, and the howling provided some jumpy moments.

Both pieces were well written, with a good depth of mystery.

Whilst not totally terrifying, they were ghostly and had the shadow of M R R James casting over them.

This also marked the fist time that the Headgate Theatre had a performance on in both of their spaces, creating a lovely buzz around the theatre.

Thanks to the hard working front of house staff that made sure everyone had a good evening, and let’s look forward to more events in both spaces in the future.