by MEGAN MOBERG
Dave Malloy’s new concept album, Ghost Quartet, is an eerie tale of love, death, and of course whiskey. The intimate setting of the Elision Playhouse allowed for an immersive musical experience. This tale of desire, deceit, and betrayal bridging seven centuries was beautiful, memorable, and overall absurd. This circular story involving two sisters, a bear, an astronomer, and the ghost of Thelonious Monk draws from ghost stories and fairy tales creating a hauntingly beautiful story that you will want to see again.
The performance included multiple musical genres from doo-wop, to drinking songs, from murderous ballads to jazz; keeping the audience guessing from one moment to the next. The cast of four filled the room with sound. Kellen McMillen and Christine Wade took turns on the keyboard, Quinn Shadko traversed the stage with her violin, and Tristen Sima was rarely without his guitar. Besides their primary instruments, the musicians played a variety of others, including drums, mandolin, accordion, ukulele, and autoharp. The unique combinations of instrumentation created a fresh and inspiring sound for each piece.
Tucked under the stage, and hidden in buckets were a plethora of percussion instruments that were passed out for audience participation. Even the most unwilling participant could not refuse when a maraca, rain stick, or washboard was thrust into their hands. The audience even played the cast members out and ended the show in the last song, “The Wind & Rain.”
The experience lends itself to the feeling of an intimate evening with friends. Besides being expected to contribute musically, audience members were invited to share a drink during the song, “Four Friends.” This drinking song was the perfect moment for the audience to bond through story and music, whether or not they were not drinking.
Ghost Quartet is the perfect spooky show this Halloween season. Bring your friends, imagination, and dust up your tambourine skills!
Ghost Quartet runs 10/25/19 – 10/31/19 at the Elision Playhouse. Showtimes are 7:30pm. The show runs 90 minutes with no late seating and no intermission. Tickets are $35 for reserved seating, $25 for general admission, and $20 for neighbor and student discount.
10/29/19: Post-show discussion with the cast
10/30/19: Post-show whiskey tasting
10/31/19: Closing night Halloween party
Get tickets at https://www.elisionplayhouse.com/ or 714.342.0539.