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Future Demons: From Tales by Shirley Jackson


Music: Ryan Scott Oliver
Lyrics: Shirley Jackson and Ryan Scott Oliver
Performed by: Kerstin Anderson, Heathcliff Saunders, Britney Coleman, Victoria Huston-Elem, Jay Armstrong Johnson, Caitlin Doak, Alina Fontanilla, Jessie Hooker-Bailey, Kim Onah, Gerianne Perez, Catherine Ricafort and Nicole Zelka
Label: Very Intensive Productions
Release Date: 07 October 2020

The one thing you are promised, even as a theatre and vocal album reviewer these days, is variety. Lockdown seems to have really encouraged writers to release lots of different albums, and it’s been a really positive side of Covid (if there is one). And the latest offering I’ve received is certainly varied.

Future Demons is an album of songs based on tales by acclaimed 1950s psychological horror author Shirley Jackson, composed by Ryan Scott Oliver with words by Jackson and Oliver. Jackson’s work was the basis of the hit Netflix series The Haunting of Hill House and the classic Robert Wise-directed film The Haunting. She is also the author of the iconic short story ''The Lottery,' and was the subject of the recent film Shirley, executive produced by Martin Scorsese and starring Elisabeth Moss.

Future Demons features an impressive line-up of theater stars including (in alphabetical order) Kerstin Anderson, Britney Coleman, Jessie Hooker-Bailey, Victoria Huston-Elem, Jay Armstrong Johnson, Gerianne Perez, Catherine Ricafort, and Heathcliff Saunders — with Allie Boyle, Nicole DeLuca, Caitlin Doak, Samantha Ferrara, Alina Fontanilla, Adam Magnacca, Liam Joshua Munn, Kim Onah, Chloe Savit, Andreas Schmidt, Byron Turk and Nicole Zelka.

It's a short album - an EP really - with 5 tracks, each based on a different story. The opening ‘My Life With RH Macy’ is a rocky, startling number which certainly evokes the world it comes from. The second number ‘James Harris’ is really well performed by Heath Saunders and is a more acoustic track. By far my favourite number is the third track, ’The Story We Used To Tell’ which is handled very well by the wonderful Britney Coleman and Victoria Huston-Elem. There are some great harmonies here, in this tale of two women trapped in a photograph.

This is an interesting listen - and whilst I think it’s still a work in progress somewhat, it’s worth a listen for some nice performances.


Ian Gude

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