Dark avant-garde musical cabaret is fascinating to witness, despite not always cohering
This article is from 2014.
As the doors open you are greeted by four wind musicians at the front, a pianist in period costume wearing horns and two women seated at a table to the left. Darling Ghost is hard to categorise; think free jazz meets Tori Amos or Regina Spektor at their most orchestral for a vague idea of what to expect musically. The music is punctuated by spoken-word theatre as the actors walk amongst the audience, sometimes handing out scrawled notes. A cross between dark cabaret and avant-garde musical theatre, there's no overarching narrative; more an evocation of a mood, perhaps a melancholy longing for a connection or a complex sound poem to lost and damaged love and relationships. One section in particular, as a girl pleads with her mother for approval, is particularly effective.
Darling Ghost is the brainchild of pianist Sheena Bernett. Her vocals are at times sweet and crooning; at others snarled and dripping with anger. The music builds to several epic crescendos, sometimes achingly beautiful, at others deliberately discordant.
Although too jarring and formless at times, the visual, theatrical and sonic elements combine for a startling and original experience. Bernett's vision might not always pay off but it's still fascinating to witness.
artSpace@StMarks, 226 0000, 15 & 19 Aug, 7.45pm, £6.