Entertainment » Theatre

The Phantom of the Disco

by Kilian Melloy
Thursday Feb 15, 2018
'The Phantom of the Disco'
'The Phantom of the Disco'  

Heart & Dagger is back at Club Cafe with another impossibly fun night of theater. If you thought their reading of "Hair" was anarchic, wait until you get a load of "The Phantom of the Disco."

Who knows what's hallucination and what's merely neon daydream in this riff on the well-known tragic tale of horror and obsession? We begin in the far future - 2048, where dollars, euros and Bitcoin have all faded away, leaving only booze to serve as currency. The setting is a closed theater stuffed with collectibles now up for auction. (Given the current administration's interest in the arts, credible journalism, and other landmarks of civilized society, we probably won't have to wait until 2048 for theaters to be selling off their assets, but anyway ... ) Somehow - and this is rather inexplicable, but we take the Narrator's (Elizabeth Battey) word for it - we then flash back to the 1970s and a wild scheme that involves an attempt to cover up a murder by replacing the victim, Christine, with a mannequin transpires.

Needless to say, this trickery is a success. Everyone is in love with the statuesque Christine, including the hot-blooded Raul (Amelia Boyce Munson) ("Your disco moves are very subtle!") and the Phantom himself Ly Meloccaro). Not since "Weekend At Bernie's" has a lifeless stiff commanded such concentrated attention.

The Phantom is so smitten that he insists, through a series of cryptic missives (projected, for our benefit, onto a couple of screens ... as are the lyrics to the songs, for ease of joining in!), that the lead role in the disco's upcoming production of "The Donna Summer Musical" should go to Christine and no one else -- certainly not to resident diva Carlotta (Neon Calypso)! When his wishes are not respected, murder and mayhem are the price. No one is safe -- not even the puppets. Oh, you phantom fiend!

Constructed as a jukebox musical in which you never which song is going to pop up next, this fever dream comes across as a David Lynch karaoke night on something illicit but fun. "Do Ya Think I'm Sexy," "Hot Stuff," "A Little Respect," "Disco Inferno," and even... yes!... "Dancing Queen" all erupt in this furious, phantasmagorical production.


Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Assistant Arts Editor. He also reviews theater for WBUR. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.


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