Review: GHOST QUARTET at Valkyrie Theatre Company

This Haunting Production Plays Through April 21st

By: Apr. 09, 2024
Review: GHOST QUARTET at Valkyrie Theatre Company
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I’m still not sure what I watched on Saturday night at the Valkyrie Theatre Company, and I don’t know that I’ll ever fully figure it out. Strangely enough, I feel inclined to go back to gather more pieces of the puzzle. Apparently, such is the norm for viewers of Ghost Quartet, a theatrical song cycle by Dave Malloy (Natasha, Pierre, & the Great Comet of 1812).

Through different musical genres, the show weaves four different storylines together with the help of a ghost (I think), a camera, and a bevy of recognizable names. Fairytales mix with gothic horror in an intriguing web of absolute confusion. Rose Red and Scheherazade share stage time with Thelonious Monk and Edgar Allan Poe. Jealous siblings make way for bereaved parents and a creepy imaginary friend who beckons children to come to the other side and play. Truly, this is unlike anything you’ve seen before.

This production is the first in Valkyrie Theatre Company’s Directing Mentorship Program. Students from American River College chose the show and were responsible for implementing every facet of it. Hannah Hurst provides vocal direction and a deliciously spooky set of characters. Anela Rei Tan is wonderful as dead girls Rose and Roxie. Brayden Plumb serves as the show’s director and Astronomer, and really tries to help us out with a synopsis of the vignettes. Nick Roten is the Bear and the band director, and just happens to have my favorite line of all time: “I am not a murderer or a crazy person -- I just like honey.”

The venue’s (The Hut in Fair Oaks) cozy atmosphere complements Malloy’s haunting songs and the students have done an incredible job in modifying the orchestration to fit the instruments available to them. I wouldn’t have known that anything was different had I not read the information board.

The real treat is the audience involvement. The actors envelop the crowd in music and dance, creating a joyful and immersive experience. Heavy, rhythmic percussion at the end puts a nice cherry on top of a truly unique theatrical event.

Ghost Quartet with Valkyrie Theatre Company is playing at The Hut in Fair Oaks through April 21st. More information can be found online at

Photo credit: James Gilbreath


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