>>> Fringe Review: Echoes: A New Musical

ECHOES: A NEW MUSICAL by Andrew Seok. Jeanne.

ECHOES: A NEW MUSICAL by Andrew Seok. Jeanne Lamon Hall (427 Bloor West). July 2, 7, 8 and 9 at 8pm. Buy tickets. Rating: NNNN

Inspired by letters and journal entries Andrew Seok’s musical shows how war wrought devastation on the lives of soldiers’ families in the American Civil War and World Wars I and II.

Seok’s minimalist staging places the emphasis entirely on the music and it is gorgeous, soaring and beautifully sung. One standout is Jeff Madden as the postman in all three periods whose voice expresses immense compassion for the lives his letters change. Another is Nickeshia Garrick, who sings throughout with overpowering conviction.

With its dominantly sombre tone and lack of dramatic conflict, the musical resembles more a secular oratorio that may be more at home in the concert hall than on the stage.

Seok’s notion that politicians stir up war without the populace’s consent hardly applies to the three periods he chooses. Hugely impressive, however, is how passionately the songs convey the loneliness and fear of war-torn families and the shreds of hope they cling to.

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