A true tale from the Otago goldfields provides an entertaining setup for the psychic rush that comes from delving into the supernatural.

The journey starts innocuously enough with the show's creators, Lizzie Tollemache and David Ladderman, regaling the audience with recollections of meanderings around the abandoned towns and sombre landscapes of Central Otago.

The 1860s Gold Rush created plenty of opportunities for unclaimed bodies to find their way into unmarked graves and a rich folklore has risen out of the nocturnal wanderings of these restless spirits.

An accompanying slide-show lends an air of authenticity. We see a wooden slab erected to mark the demise of "Somebody's Darling" and the faces of Chinese miners who froze to death after being refused credit by a grocer mysteriously appear in a 19th century photograph of the grocery.

Advertisement

Things really start to go bump as we move into the central story of the Dunstan pub owner who met a violent death on the night she was about to leave the goldfields with her lover.

To reveal more would spoil the fun - suffice to say the dead do not always take kindly to strangers messing with their tales.

The play is well-structured with carefully thought-out audience interactions, skilful performances and sharply choreographed pyrotechnics enhanced with a suitably eerie soundtrack.

Theatre review

What: The Dunstan Creek Haunting
Where & when: Herald Theatre, to October 31
Reviewer: Paul Simei-Barton