Ghost Quartet: Musical theater with an impressive emotional palette


Ghost Quartet Production Team

ghost Quartet successfully evokes a strange space that defies temporality, sometimes set in modernity while the ensemble lent credence to the 18th century American Gothic energy of much of the drama of the songs in the cycle. Dark patterned wallpaper, cut glass whiskey tumblers and the Ushers – comparisons to Edgar Allen Poe come naturally but Phantom Quartet was self-aware enough to escape the tearful horror trap, counterpointing his emotional weight with light gags of knowledge to the audience. Indeed, some of Phantom QuartetThe most innovative and original moments of s are in taking a step back from the story and form a cycle of musical / dramatic songs to joke with the audience, even include them in the music.

“Excellent chemistry between Grace and Smith sparkling on stage”

Each performer held up with the others on stage individually; no voice felt too drowned out, nor any voice sweeping over the others. However, their strengths came out mostly in the solo numbers, one of Tom Hayes’ numbers being a lively closer to “Side 1” and Emilia Grace’s powerful voice blossomed in his solo numbers. Gregory Miller was fluent and at ease as a buddy and continuity voice, while Maddie Smith kept the sentiment of her individual parts wonderfully cohesive through several challenging numbers, often carrying the weight of the drama. Although they performed well as a quartet, with a particularly excellent chemistry between Grace and Smith bubbling on stage, their musical fusion as a group did not seem as easy as their individual performances. The strength of the music also made up for the few scenes without music, performed like ‘straight’ theater, in which the dialogue struggled to keep pace with the rest of the show – luckily most of those scenes featured a monologue by Smith, who more than saved the energy of those scenes with a brilliantly delivered, curse-laden punch.

In the writing of Phantom QuartetDave Malloy apparently built on an old tradition, that the strength of a musical play, in the broadest sense possible, needs drama more than intrigue. From this idea flow jukebox musicals – some good, some dubious – and musicals without narrative (35 mm, for example). It has largely paid off under the direction of Lily Blundell and Hayley Canham, with the play’s well-crafted but not overworked emotional range pulling her through the sometimes incomprehensible plot. However, there were a few director oversights that met with an emotional charge reached in every song sequence. These were mostly times when it wasn’t entirely clear whether a performer had changed characters, and other times when it felt like a character change was indicated – in the appearance of a fez on Hayes’ head, for example – but he felt as if changes weren’t always followed in the direction of a particular sequence.

Blundell herself sat at the piano in the center of the stage as an ivory-ringing conductor and, along with cellist Elizabeth Vogel, accompanied the quartet in style. They didn’t falter, pushing the performers through a few weaknesses from the first night, keeping pace even in the face of a few forgotten lines or struggles with the set, the sort of thing that is almost always ironed out as you go. of the race. However, the minor technical and dramatic flaws in this production weren’t enough to keep this reviewer from having a lot of fun last night – on the last issue, the quartet and Blundell even made me clap along with the rest of the audience. As an experience of a fun, energizing, unpretentious and unpretentious play, in which one cannot help but applaud, Phantom Quartet well worth the price of a Corpus ticket.

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