Dead Ghost Star

Wed 19th – Sat 29th August 2015


Tess Davidson

at 09:57 on 26th Aug 2015



I’m exhausted. My ribs ache from laughing and my head is dizzy from the heady adrenaline rush of over-excitement. Turns out an hour of ballet-dancing lizards, spaceships, and hungry black-holes is quite a lot to handle.

Dead Ghost Star is the product of comedy duo Sonja Quita Doubleday and Donal Coonan. With Doubleday and Coonan performing as two astronauts, the show is absolute chaos from the beginning. Greeted at the door by a man in a home-made space costume - reminiscent of a primary school themed non-uniform day - handing out glow-sticks, we were directed to our seats in the spaceship. Much screaming and frantic jumping later, we landed in space – pronounced ‘spa-say’ according to one indignant astronaut.

It was a surreal and insane sixty minutes. Space slugs and black holes attacking members of the audience, being hit over the head by balloons and being sprayed by water made for a very interactive experience, whether you wanted it to be or not. It was, at many points, a slightly out of body experience, the strange noises and shapes being concocted on stage utterly left of centre, the completely sporadic and hectic rushing between disconnected and irrelevant scenes causing uproarious hilarity.

Throughout I was in a constant state of disbelief, constantly awaiting with glee what strange sketch would occur next. Think children’s party entertainment meets class-A drugs for the first time, and multiply by ten – maybe then you’ll come close to imagining what unfurled on this small stage.

The use of props in the show was haphazard, with frequent resorting to ad-lib because they had misplaced them, all of which had the potential to be a disaster yet for some reason, perhaps because of the innocent and kindly nature of the two performers, it just became a natural addition to the sketches, and only increased the joyous confusion further. The use of music was a welcome addition, with segments including David Bowie providing a few moments of peace from the continual chaos.

The greatest attribute of this show was its ability in causing the audience to regress so that by the end, we had all been transformed into children again as we clapped our hands with glee and voluntarily got involved with the performance. To be able to draw this out of an audience is no mean feat and on one level, the show became a rare and poignant tribute to the lost innocence of our childhood.

This is a show of extremes and almost definitely will not be to everyone’s tastes. Yet if you open yourself to the silliness and look past the apparent loss of sanity, it will potentially be one of the funniest experiences of the Fringe.


Flo Layer

at 10:21 on 26th Aug 2015



This show is completely bonkers. It is painfully absurd. And it is absolutely hilarious – if you’re in the right frame of mind. Dead Ghost Star is the sort of unbelievably bad but simultaneously brilliant show that makes the Fringe the melting-pot of a festival that it is.

From the very moment that the audience enters, greeted with a tiny glowstick and invited to take a seat in the ‘first class’ seating of the space ship, it’s pretty clear that this show is going to be fairly daft. Strapped in, glow sticks at the ready we prepare to blast off into space (or “spatze” as they insist) and enter the absurd universe of Dead Ghost Star.

Comedy duo Sonja Quita Doubleday and Donal Coonan (also known as Cheekykita and Mr Dinner – collectively ‘CheekyDinner’) lead the way on this galactic adventure with a sometimes frightening level of enthusiasm. Variously dressed as astronauts, stars, black holes (a particular favourite), a ballet-dancing lizard and the first man on earth, the pair shout and tell tales to a more than bewildered audience.

The make-shift, papier-mache costumes and set is a perfect match for the higgledy-piggledy nature of this mad production. Mr Henry Smooth, the moon-dweller with irons for shoes whose only task is to ‘smooth’ over the surface of the moon, has to be the best example of this show’s brilliant imagination.

The show manages to reduce its audience to a delightfully childish state: grown men insist “it wasn’t me, it was him” when interrogated by Cheekykita as to who broke ‘Globby’ (also known as the small globe that was thrown at the audience). This might have been due to the pervasively childish feeling of the show, or perhaps more likely the fact that Cheekykita looks like she could eat you for dinner with her white face and frighteningly wide eyes.

The use of audience interaction thankfully worked wonders (god knows how awful it could have been if the audience had not been in good spirits). Even though one gentleman in the front row clearly hated the whole show, the pair’s insistence to include him just made it all the more hilarious.

One of the best scenes included first man on Earth where the audience is invited to create the echo of his lonely voice across the barren plains. Utter confusion over what was expected of us turned into over-enthusiasm as the ‘echoes’ didn’t stop coming. My jaw ached from laughing at the absurdity and confusion of the whole situation.

A trip to Edinburgh could surely never be complete without a duration spent in a damp cave waving a glow stick at these two completely insane performers. Dead Ghost Star is absurd and excellent in equal measure.


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