LONG, cold winter evenings are made for ghost stories.

And provides the perfect mix of chills and thrills.

It was clear from the start of this 1950s period piece that the assembled audience was looking to be both entertained and scared by this supernatural tale from the pen of Joe O’Byrne who also served as director and actor.

This traditional take on the haunted house story has deservedly received scores of plaudits and rave reviews from the North West of England.

For this reviewer The Haunting of Blaine Manor is tribute to the works of M.R James and Hammer elevated by superb sound design and perfectly pitched performances from its superbly talented and effective six-piece cast’.

The main character that we are introduced to brash American Doctor Roy Earle who arrives at the manor in a haze, played by the engaging Peter Slater. Roy is met by the wonderfully hammy spiritualist Cairo played by Andrew Yates.

The quick dialogue soon swaps pleasantries for tension fast revealing aspects of each character.

Each conversation is crafted in a way that audiences want to know more.

This is the case with Vivian Rutledge played by the fantastic Jo Haydock who as a journalist is keen to learn everyone’s story and tease out their weaknesses.

Vincent De Lambre was impressive as Ed Barry whose attempts to steady the ship with his calm conversation and rational persona contrasted with medium Adolphus Scarabus played by Jimmy Allen.

Chilling touches and live jump scares were featured. One particularly memorable one involved butler Grady played by the play’s writer Joe O’Byrne.

While proving refreshing to go to the theatre and be treated to an original play the real selling point of The Haunting of Blaine Manor, and its popularity with the Venue Cymru audience was due to its unashamed salute to the acclaimed ghost stories of the past.