Paul Gannon – Edinburgh Fringe review

A poor comedy offering from Paul Gannon and his ghostly obsession

Paul Gannon Ain't Afraid Of No GhostPaul Gannon is a man possessed. Not in the head-spinning, Linda Blair of The Exorcist-style sense of possession, but in the way his show is devoted to one idea – ghosts. From the film Ghostbusters, which he watched again and again during his early years, to an adulthood spent searching for spirits in crumbling houses and ageing regional theatres, Gannon is on one long ghost-hunt.

But this is not a grim or morbid show. It is Gannon’s gentle story of “chasing things that don’t exist” and the friends, fools and frauds he encounters on his journey.

It is open and revealing but, unfortunately, not particularly funny. The Wirral-born Gannon’s obsession with unearthly beings begin as a child in the 1980s, when he saw Ivan Reitman’s classic Ghostbusters and promptly wet himself. When, in 2007, he suffered a relationship break-up followed by a spell of depression, he threw himself into his overriding passion for the paranormal. This led to him hosting a series of psychic theatre tours, co-writing a song with Sigourney Weaver and tangling with Derek Acorah, whose skills as a “psychic medium” are sent-up with ease.

All of which is moderately interesting, but little more. Despite the excellent choice of Edinburgh’s dank Caves as a venue, and the use of a grey homemade Ghostbusters-style boiler suit, Gannon fails to translate his offbeat material into anything funny or memorable. His mix of one-liners, anecdotes and sketches is weak and flits about like, well, a spirit in search of somewhere to settle.

Gannon’s story is about how “ghost-hunting saved my life” but it is not enough to save his show. He needs more jokes or more frights if he is to convert his slight, unconventional tale into a story worth telling.

1 star
Review written by Peter Edwards
• Paul Gannon Ain’t Afraid Of No Ghost is at 5.20pm at Just the Tonic Caves

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