Gorgeous chapel settingHadeal Abdelatti with permission for Varsity

It was a cold winter night and I put on my boots and my mittens, ready to face the long walk ahead of me. Past Magdalene and Medwards, then past Fitz and still the road stretched on. It was a treacherous trek - at one point my sock fell down which was very uncomfortable but eventually I made it to the promised land - Girton College Chapel. As it turned out, I was accidentally forty minutes early and so I wandered the grounds till it was an appropriate time. But, all of these hardships were worth it for the show I witnessed. The Medium was a spectacle to observe.

“I was instantly immersed in the beautifully haunting atmosphere”

The Girton chapel was a lovely venue for a show of this nature. The Medium is an hour long, two act opera about a fake psychic (Madame Flora) who has an eerie encounter in one of her fake seances. On entering, I was instantly immersed in the beautifully haunting atmosphere. Gabriel Kennedy’s enchanting organ music prepared the space while the audience entered. The chapel itself was set up with the orchestra in the front followed by the set and then the audience in the pews and the organ at the back. I thought the set was perfect for the space with two distinct sides created by a table and curtain set up, while the other side consisted of the couch and hat stand. I was impressed by how, within a small, unconventional space, they created the sense of a large house and allowed the actors to move in interesting and dynamic ways. The way characters entered the ‘house’ was also clever, with the aisle down the middle of the audience lighting up as they arrived so the audience knew to look and expect an entrance.

A stand out moment for me was the seance in the first act. Madame Flora (Amy Bolster) welcomes in three guests to her house for a seance - Mr and Mrs Gobineau (Ina Krüger, Gregory Burford) and Mrs Nolan (Hadeal Abdelatti). The seance began with an uncomfortable yelling from Flora while the audience were focused on the characters sitting at the table. Slowly, I saw audience members start to turn around in their seats. When I too looked around, I was met with a veiled figure, backlit red, standing at the organ. It honestly sent a chill down my spine. Both elegant and terrifying the figure (Monica played by Izzy Benson) sang so beautifully, it really felt as if I were watching a true apparition. In fact, all of the cast’s voices were incredible. In particular, I was in awe of Izzy Benson and Hadeal Abdelatti. They sang so delicately but with so much power. Speaking of power, the performance and voice of Amy Bolster swept me away. She carried so much authority and strength all while maintaining a grace and eloquence that made her character so intriguing. I could see the fear and paranoia written across her face as Flora slowly went insane in act two - she really embodied the character to the point that I couldn’t imagine her as anyone other than Flora.

“They sang so delicately but with so much power”

The role of Toby was also very interesting to me. Played by Olivia Kiely, it was the only non-singing role. Toby appeared to me childlike and often forgotten. Kiely darted around the stage and seemed truly meek in comparison to Bolster’s character Flora. Kiely’s doe eyes and hesitant movements reminded me of a small animal, perhaps alluding to their position in the family.

My favourite moments were when the actors sang together. Their voices combined so beautifully and echoed around the chapel in a way that can only be described as haunting. The tenor notes of Gregory Burford stood out when they sang together and I welcomed the depth it brought. In a scene where the seance guests return wanting more, Flora tries to tell them it was fake and to leave. They refused and we see Flora’s fear and anxiety represented as the guests began circling her. With Flora in the middle, they spin around her singing - both their bodies and voices trapping her.

A truly standout performance comes from the orchestra and, in particular, Emily Clare-Hunt as conductor. I loved being able to see the orchestra at the back and they were consistently excellent throughout both acts. It was obvious that the music was leading the show and I was extremely impressed with the fact most of the lighting was spot on with the music cues (Sophie Richardson). At times, it did unfortunately feel as if the singers and orchestra were in battle with each other to be heard and there were points at which the music or sound effects drowned out the actors. Despite this, there were equally times they complimented each other harmoniously. I especially liked the moments of quiet where a sung phrase would really stand out or times where the music would be accompanied by background noise (for example Flora saying her Hail Marys while Monica sings).

“If you are a fan of music, hauntings and long walks, I would definitely recommend it”

However, at the end of the show, I was left feeling as though I hadn’t had enough. As good as the performances were, I was craving more from the characters, more build up, more drama. This may be a slight of the script or the form, but I would have loved some more prolonged scenes of Flora’s paranoia or Monica’s role - in some ways things felt rushed or as if I was only seeing a glimpse of what was happening.


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Overall, I can safely say the long, long walk to Girton was worth it. That is high praise coming from a central college girl who forgot to wear a jumper. The voices alone would have been enough to satisfy me but this show did so much more. It was chilling (not just because I forgot my jumper) and entracing, balancing the perfect amount of beauty and eeriness. If you are a fan of music, hauntings and long walks, I would definitely recommend it.

The Medium is showing at Girton College Chapel from 16-18th November at 19:30.