Ghosted: The Musical, my fifth musical at this year’s Toronto Fringe Festival, plays out sort of like an episode of Buffy The Vampire Slayer. (And I do mean that as a compliment.) Summer (Allana O’Reilly) and Zorah (Brianna Roma), two friends working at a coffee shop while dreaming of a better life, must contend with thought-control demon fairies from another dimension!
There is a lot to love about this show and I was totally on-board for its goofy, high-concept premise. Blending science-fiction, fantasy, and the occult: this is a world where humanity is under siege from mind-control demons who live off our disappointment and crushed dreams.
Two demons feature here: an amusing mother/son team with their own comedic family dysfunction. Mother demon (Claire Rice) is thrown into wild frustration by her rebellious son, Ravi (Ted Powers) who’s growing up and no longer wants to destroy human souls. Rice and Powers provide that tried-and-true odd couple dynamic.
Dayjan Lesmond, Connor Ferris, and Katherine Nye fill out this endearing cast as a bookish and sexy para-normal scientist, a thought-controlled dream-date, and an arrogant superstar graphic-novelist; respectively.
There isn’t a lot of nuance here as our intrepid team of humans follow their dreams and battle demons, but the story is fun and the dialogue clever and punchy. The book (by Alexandra Lean and Ana Trask) is a whimsical pastiche of other speculative fiction properties and musicals that never feels too derivative.
The songs (by Lean, Trask and Murray Foster) aren’t particularly memorable, but they are clever, charming and serve the story well.
Director Lean’s production isn’t quite polished, but it is feisty and colourful. I am also very fond of Sydney Temple’s choreography; it is fluid and effectively conveys core ideas in each song, though the cast rarely sell it well. Some of their movements feel mechanical, as if they aren’t yet entirely comfortable with them.
All things considered, Ghosted: The Musical is a solid effort from a talented team.