“In Good Spirits” is a fun and enjoyable piece of fringe theatre that definitely has the potential to literally lift your spirits. There’s some proper soul in this show! While there is room for improvement, it’s an intriguing piece of storytelling that leaves you wanting more. I would love to see this piece a little more expanded, with more humour and playful dialogues between the 4 ghosts.
The show tells the story of four ghosts who find themselves living in a house that is about to be demolished. The ghosts attempt to save the house but their efforts only make things worse and they have to get ready for the big finale – losing their home. The question is, what are you going to do knowing that, even as a ghost, your days may be numbered?
The one-hour performance is a delightful show and impresses with well-crafted costumes (by Ana Smoleanu) and intriguing storytelling (by KT Miles). The staging of the show is great, and the use of lamps as the main piece of stage design is a sharp idea. Each lamp has its style, just like the characters on stage, and by themselves, they just create a mood of an old, stylish house instantly. However, this specific piece of stage set left me with some questions, as the lamps seem out of place in a property that’s supposed to be torn down (wasn’t the house cleared?). It’s also unclear how they are still working if electricity has probably been cut off (since nobody lives there).
The premise of the show is quite explicit from the beginning, and we get a set of monologues from each of the ghosts, explaining what they still lack or what they miss in their afterlife.
I have to say, I enjoyed the premise and the story as a whole. Unfortunately, the monologues are quite long-winded and retro-sounding, and I was hoping for a little more modern approach.
While there is a visible difference between the ghosts’ age, highlighted by adorable little points (“What’s Nat Geo?”), there was a definite chance to inject more jokes or puns in this otherwise lengthy part of the show.
I’m aware that the show’s creators aimed for a bit more playful stance on the classic subject of ghost stories – I was having much higher expectations, as with this topic, you could really go all out and almost comical, and the audience would still enjoy it, as the ghost theme is very forgiving. It just seemed a bit too classic for me.
The actors do what they can and create a diverse set of ghosts, but they portray mostly the quiet, well-behaved old-school types who share a love for past time. One character – Alex (Ross Barbour), brings the energy and freshness of a non-binary, charismatic being to the classic ghost role, while the other spirits follow more of a typical, Victorian spirit path, wandering through the room, cherishing their favourite items from the past or drawing portraits. They do a great job portraying the characters though – I especially enjoyed the moody, porcelain cat-loving creation of Ted by Mac Cambley.
When the ghosts settle on their fate, realise that the house is going to be torn down, and ask “now what?”, there was a chance to reveal a big surprise. Ghost rave, silent disco, some crazy event – something to live their “life” to the fullest before everything ends. What we got instead was ghosts just sitting in silence, waiting for the end – why? What happens after, the ending, leaves an opening, and a good opportunity to explore the story further.
“In Good Spirits” is a creative base for something more, I’m sure of it. It’s almost like a pilot to a big ghost adventure. Will it develop further? I hope so!
“In Good Spirits”
Cast & Creative Team
Writer and Production Manager: KT MILES
Director, Co-Producer, Dramaturg: GRETA RILLETTI-ZALTIERI
Designer, Co-Producer: ANA SMOLEANU
Scenic Artist, Construction, Marketing: FELIX JORDAN
Production Assistant, Sound and Subtitles: VITTORIA BUTTI
Technical Design/Operation: CHARLIE RACA
Actor (Alex): ROSS BARBOUR
Actor (Joanne): VERNA VYAS
Actor (Mara): VERONICA SCHWEIGER
Actor (Ted): MAC CAMBLEY
Voice Actor (Harry): KEVIN NOLAN