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  • Dress Circle Reviews

Mascherato The Musical

After interviewing the creators of Mascherato recently we are pleased to be able to share our thoughts on the recording following its release.

It tells the story of Luca and Elena who fall in love in the streets of 18th century Venice during the annual carnival but are soon ripped apart by the war with the Ottoman empire before reuniting with difficult decisions to make. While the focus of the story is on the lovers we also get to experience the excitement of the carnival, see the battles of war and understand the aftermath of that. However, throughout the show, despite the ups and downs, there is always a thread of hope which the audience is able to maintain.

It’s clearly an ambitious project which you realise from the stirring opening strands which prepare you for story ahead. The creators have described it as a sweeping epic which is entirely fitting, with its combination of haunting intimate songs alongside huge showstopping numbers. We were excited from the haunting prologue and in love by “The Carnival Way”, a fun, joyous song full of life and vibrancy. The Disney influence is clear to see while still being entirely original.

They couldn’t have found a better cast to breathe life into the characters, with phenomenal actors in the lead roles. Rob Houchen, who has already proven his prowess as a romantic lead, imbues Luca with a hopeful innocence while Katy Treharne lends her captivating voice to the sheltered but strong-willed Elena. Their voices mix together seamlessly, along with Michael Elderkin’s beautiful orchestrations, especially evident in the bewitching “In A Single Moment”. And Katy Treharne is heart-breaking in the songs reprise.

Musicals are written to be experienced live and hearing a cast recording without the visuals of the staging is quite a different experience. The creators have tried to overcome some of those problems by the inclusion of abridged dialogue between scenes and with some narration to help bring the story to life. This may be nit-picking but we found the narration distracting and some of the dialogue forced which didn’t allow characters full motivations for their actions to come through. But this is likely to be due to the fact that it’s abridged for the recording and demonstrates how vital the full live experience is. Within the music the lyrics are stronger and work well to bring out the heart of the story.

This now needs a producer to pick it up. Mascherato needs a big stage and cast to allow the show to shine. There is so much potential in the show and the right director could put on a stunning production. We would be excited to see how this comes to life on stage and see the creative decisions that could be made. But before that happens, enjoy the recording which will make a great addition to your musical theatre library.

See here for places to stream the recording.


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