Musicals & Opera review: Ouija the Musical

Edinburgh Festival Fringe: This blend of live rock music and drama succeeds due to the originality of its central concept despite a number of shortcomings.

Venue 13 (Venue 13)


The band, Ouija, stage a rehearsal in front of a paying audience (us) in the Welsh Village Hall of Aberlladd. Their music (composed by James Williams) is a mixture of effective John Carpenter pastiche and sub-grunge rock. Unfortunately the hall was built on the site of a tragedy which occurred on this very date!

This is essentially an attempt to create the equivalent of a found-footage movie on stage and it shares some of that sub-genre’s flaws. Most of the cast have clearly been chosen for their musical ability rather than acting skills so dialogue can be indistinct – and the tragic back-story is rather thrown away.

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The protracted, intentionally confusing climax takes place in near-darkness and the lurching change of tone for the coda is misjudged. Even so, no matter how familiar you are with the tricks and tropes of horror, this does spring a few genuine surprises and the technical aspects are excellent – it’s hard to dislike and easy to recommend.

Until 11 August. Today 9:30pm.