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Review: MASCHERATO Concept Album

A review of the concept album for a new musical

Review: MASCHERATO Concept Album

Review: MASCHERATO Concept Album Racing against pending lockdown, the cast and creatives behind Mascherato: The Musical were able to finish the concept album for this new show set in 18th century Venice.

With a book by James Willett and a score by Michael Elderkin, the show follows the story of Elena (Katy Treharne) and Luca (Rob Houchen) against the backdrop of overprotective fathers and the threat of the Ottoman Empire.

The opening prologue with eery strings creates a dramatic beginning for the tale. Immediately we are immersed in the hustle and bustle of a busy city preparing for the carnival and are introduced to our protagonists. Elena's "I want" song follows, as she shares her desire with Luca to "Go and See the World".

Tension is introduced into the story as we meet Elena's father, General Atillio (Nathaniel Parker), concerned to lose his daughter if the threat of the Ottoman empire is realised. We are then whisked to the centre of the Venetian Festival, with a sprightly irregular 7/8 metre.

The romantic duet "In a Single Moment" is suitably lush and lyrical, making clever multifaceted use of the phrase "single moment". This phrase reappears throughout the score, with dramatic effect, particularly at the end of the number that would have closed Act I.

Act II begins a year later. The drama in the second half of the show is suitably accompanied with dramatic battle underscoring and churning string sequences as the magical twists and turns of the story unfold.

"We're the Ottomans" puts the antagonists centre stage, but the number unfortunately overemphasises their role as "the bad guys" to an unnecessary extent. To complement the drama, there is excellent use of comic relief in the show in the form of Luca's two colleagues in numbers such as "Tailor-Made"

Houchen is suitably endearing in his performance as Luca and Trahearn plays a likeable and determined Elena. Parker strikes the right balance of caring father and courageous military man as Atillio and Secomb is deliciously menacing as the General Leandros of the enemy Ottoman forces.

The decision to include abridged narration to guide the listener is a good one. It helps to fill in the gaps of the story one normally has to guess when listening to a cast recording under normal circumstances.

Willett's book is a smidge cliché at times, but the story of Mascherato is beautifully told through the combined forces of orchestra and cast. It makes for an enjoyable listen to a story from a bygone era. For those missing big live musical theatre shows at the moment, listening to Mascherato is a great way to be whisked away for a couple of hours.

Mascherato is available on music streaming platforms now

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From This Author - Fiona Scott

Fiona works towards her medicinal chemistry PhD by day but can usually be found in a theatre at night. She enjoys writing about science, musicals and more!

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