Spirited performance tells the tale of wartime medium Helen

The Great South Run

VERITY LUSH: I’m glad that social media didn’t exist in my youth

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You gotta laugh folks. There I was, posterior perched on the porcelain (it all happens in the wee room) in the Square Tower last Thursday.

I was reading their marketing poster on the wall and oh it did tickle my G spot (giggle spot, that is ).

Now I didn’t have my glasses on, so I think it went like this.

Are you in lurve?

We do weddings.

Fruitful of the loins ?

We do naming ceremonies

Feeling unwell?

We do funerals /wakes.

Well, I nearly fell off the lav laughing. I suppose that’s a rather natty way of drumming up business.

I was at the Square Tower for an evening entitled Spiritualism 1840-1945.

And as I’m in the spook trade, I was really looking forward to the guest speaker’s talks and the play, A Kind of Conjuration, that followed.

After sitting through an hour of illuminating insights into Victorian spiritualism, I had a bit of a numb bum.

You know me folks, I’ve got the attention span of a gnat’s nuts. So I wondered if I’d sit through the play and not fidget.

Well not only did I not fidget, I was riveted.

A Kind of Conjuration, written by local playwrights Stuart Olesker and John Stanton, and performed by Cop the Needle Productions and New Apollo, was about Helen Duncan.

Never heard of her?

Scottish medium Helen was the last person to be prosecuted under the 1735 Witchcraft Act.

She was arrested in Portsmouth in 1944.

Helen’s story is fascinating. Perhaps her readings could be tantilizingly vague, but occasionally they were uncannily accurate.

Especially when it came to a spirit contact from a warship that had been sunk, an incident not yet known to the general public.

She was imprisoned for nine months, as ‘careless talk cost lives’ in the Second World War.

The play takes a unique angle from the perspective of seasoned cynical hacks sent to cover the case. Very witty and entertaining.

A Kind of Conjuration is being performed at The Cellars, Eastney, April 7-10.

For information and tickets phone (023) 9273 6288.

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