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26th October 2015

Review: Ghost Opera

Bertrand Lesca’s Ghost Opera is Fellswoop Theatre’s latest production of a collaborative ensemble of music and drama

For two nights only, Ghost Opera haunted The Lowry theatre. The production used music, lighting and physical theatre to allow the audience to initmately feel each character’s haunted past.

Beginning outside the studio space of the performance, the audience were held at three different doors before we could take our seats, adding to the mystery and suspense of the production itself. It was as though a game of pass the parcel was being played, each door allowing us a closer glimpse into the world of the spa hotel.

Then, once in the studio, the production had itself started, the haunted nature of the pool boy’s pop icon already playing behind a screen, allowing only his shadow to be present. In this the tale of the story was already coming to light, with the characters able to be viewed, but not truly seen.

We were then flashed forward to the present spa hotel setting, introduced to the woman and the pool boy who attended to her. Their relationship never truly settled, a mixture of physical and sexual frustrations as they each battled with their inner selves and haunted histories.

Strangers at first, the woman and the pool boy attempt to find themselves and escape what haunts them, yet they remain unsuccessful. The storyline moves at a quick pace, dancing between the real-life characters and their haunted selves. It delves between the two realities. As I questioned which world they wished to live within, the two twisted into confusion. Life and reality seemed to no longer exist outside the spa hotel room; the characters were lost in themselves, not even permitting the ever-ringing phone to enter the secluded world.

From this, I felt that the action became quite repetitive, the scenes were played out once, before the woman and pool boy swapped places and the same scene was introduced. The symbolism of the blue dress was a little lost on me; clearly it represented the woman’s past and romantic intentions but was over-used to an extent. I also wanted to question why neither character had a name, simply the woman and the pool boy, it took away any intimate connection I could hold with the characters, removing them from the very scenes they were playing.

Yet as a modern piece of drama, the performance was clever. It brought up the same ideas again and again, echoing the haunted nature that surrounded the production. The use of lighting and music created an ambient mood, casting shadows over the characters and storyline.

Through the Development of the Lowry programme, the production originated in the highlands before being workshopped at Salford. It just shows how talent can be developed and exhibited locally. It presents a range of opportunities to be given and performed at The Lowry.

Although Ghost Opera showed at The Lowry on the 15th and 16th of October 2015 you can still catch the production, since it will be visiting  the New Diorama Theatre, London from 27th – 31st of October 2015 and Warwick Arts Centre on the 4th of November 2015.

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