Ghost Quartet Review

IMG-8047From the mind of Dave Malloy, composer, creator, and star of Natasha, Pierre, and the Great Comet of 1812, comes Ghost Quartet— a haunted song cycle that’s unlike anything else on or off Broadway today.

The show was originally set to run at New York Theatre Workshop through the end of the month, but has recently been extended through November 5. It stars Malloy alongside fellow Great Comet alums Brittain Ashford and Gelsey Bell, with Brent Arnold rounding out the titular quartet. Ghost Quartet tells several stories simultaneously– including narratives that draw inspiration from Arabian Nights, Edgar Allan Poe’s Fall of the House of Usher, and a news piece from The New York Post about a subway murder. As with Comet before it, however, the story (though interesting and with plenty to unpack) serves as a vehicle for the experience, and the experience of Ghost Quartet is undoubtedly a remarkable one.

Ashford and Bell deliver performances that are as haunting as the spirits they portray, expertly playing Malloy’s score to their unique strengths: Bell in stunning vocal feats (like the beginning of “Soldier and Rose, a definite standout), and Ashford injecting folk-infused heart and charm into every note. Arnold, meanwhile, plays a particularly scene-stealing part when inhabiting the role of the Bear, an antagonist of sorts whose demands drive the meta-plot that threads throughout the show’s interconnected tales.

I would also be remiss not to mention how fitting “Next Door at NYTW” is for Ghost Quartet. The recently-renovated 65-seat black box space works wonderfully with this intimate performance, drawing the actors and audience close together and at times, blurring the lines between the two. I don’t want to spoil the surprises that Ghost Quartet has in store, but I will say that if you are a fan of up-close and personal theater and immersive entertainment, the “cushion on the floor” seats are definitely for you. We saw the show from this perspective, and it was an experience that was truly one-of-a-kind.

Innovative, beautiful, and delightfully eerie (it’s no mistake that the show’s limited run is happening just in time for Halloween), Ghost Quartet is a night of theater you won’t want to miss!

-Louie Sullivan

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