Any avid literature fan can be found wondering: can Edgar Allen Poe successfully be elevated from the page? In the new gothic musical thriller, The House of Usher, this possibility is explored by creators Luke Adamson and Dan Bottomley. Their creation draws inspiration from Phantom of the Opera, Rocky Horror Picture Show, modern rock, which together disturb and startle the audience with excellent use of staging and effects.
The cast superbly manages the text, spitting out words with such clarity as the space demands. A black box theatre seating about fifty guests, we sat in the round, hanging on to every word and syllable. The narrator, Richard Lounds is a personable and compassionate character. He guides the audience along as we meet and process the neurotic Roderick Usher and his flighty sister Madeline.
The script juggles the overall spookiness, doses of lightheartedness, a promise of salvation for the Ushers, and a whopping second act that delights and exhilarates. Although there were problems with balance between the different media of live and amplified instruments, sound effects and song, the eerie mood lingered in the atmosphere throughout the theatre.
For a night of spooks that will haunt you for days, go see this musical.
By Ranga Liliu