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High spirits at ‘haunted’ Angel theatre pub

Spooky moments as ‘documentary slash play’ comes to the Old Red Lion

25 October, 2019 — By Emily Finch

Reece Connolly, Christopher Keegan and Caroline Buckley, of the Knock Knock Club theatre company, at the ouija board

PUNTERS are not the only ones in high spirits at a historic theatre pub in Angel as three actors found out when they witnessed some spooky moments during their month-long stint at the venue.

Even audience members at the Old Red Lion Pub in St John Street have not escaped haunting brushes with the spirit world with one woman convinced that she heard someone whisper “f*** you” in her ear when the lights were dimmed.

There was nobody else sat near her at the time.

The Knock Knock Club, a new theatre company made up of Reece Connolly, Christopher Keegan and Caroline Buckley, have been performing their “documentary slash play” called Last Orders: The Haunting of the Old Red Lion.

The trio, who met while working at the Breakin’ escape room in Holloway Road, stayed overnight at the pub with two professional ghost hunters and recorded sounds from the upstairs theatre space, pub area and the cellar.

They even used a ouija board to communicate with the spirit world.

“To begin with there wasn’t so much going on during the ghost tour which was convincing. But as we moved on, especially down in the cellar, we used a spirit box which cycles through radio frequencies to help you communicate with the other side.

“Using that and the whole experience of what we might have seen in the cellar, in the moment, I believed I was having a paranormal experience. I was terrified,” said Ms Buckley.

The troupe’s night of terror as well as their interviews with staff and archival research at the British Library formed the basis of the play.

With a history spanning 600 years, the Old Red Lion has had a fair few characters coming in through its doors and perhaps never really truly leaving.

Mr Connolly’s belief in the spirit world is so concrete that he refuses to touch a ouija board – a flat board that features the alphabet and a floating pointer that spirits can move to communicate.

“I grew up in a haunted house and had various paranormal experiences throughout my life. My family are all believers,” he said.

Ms Buckley refuses to be alone in the upstairs part of the theatre while preparing to go on stage but Mr Keegan is more sceptical of any unexplained bumps in the night.

“There were things that happened during the night that if I were a believer I would go ‘that cements my belief’. But given I have done a lot of sceptical research, there was nothing that I couldn’t explain,” he said.

The trio said they are hoping to investigate paranormal happenings in other venues throughout the country to replicate their play.

Last Orders: The Haunting of the Old Red Lion runs until tomorrow (Saturday). To find out more go to the theatre’s website www.oldredliontheatre.co.uk/last-orders.html

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