Inspired by its theoretical namesake, Hauntology would perhaps enjoy a larger crowd if it was staged earlier in the day. And yet, split across either side of the witching hour is the only place that feels right. This is a spellbinding, magical performance, one that encourages you to become lost as you delve deep into your memories and the memories of others. Boasting some sensational musical talent, the outside world ceases to exist. It’s just you, history, and some breathtaking sound.
The show is the enchanting creation of singer-songwriter Monelise, whose astounding, high-pitched voice is angelic, magnetic, and reverberates around the darkened room. Her words make you think of a princess singing alone in an empty castle, her voice echoing off bare stone walls. She is supported by the resonating cello work of Laura Victoria, and Andy Barr working wonders on piano. The trio sync perfectly towards one goal; to welcome the crowd into a discourse of the ghostly and past.
The technical wizardry on display furthers the mystique. Microphone effects add a chilling, wonderful quality to the vocals. The theremin makes your hairs stand on end, exquisitely evoking the unmistakable sensation of other-worldliness. The lights and decoration are sparse but exploited to their maximum potential. You feel so close, so absorbed into this negotiation with what once was. Hauntology is about death and what we may have been in lives past, and it is beautifully presented.
Even when there are pauses, the immersion does not stop. You mentally stagger in the cold, in the dark, longing for something that you know you want, but can’t quite place. It is this inescapable truth that Hauntology grasps with both hands, capturing the most powerful angles of this perpetual uncertainty. You soak in what you have just heard, reading over the words provided to the crowd of “seekers” upon entry, that provide hope for escaping doubt. The show feels real because Hauntology speaks and moves with those drawn to it.
What a glorious addition to the Fringe this is, underpinned by provocations that speak directly to you. When you step out into the rowdy nightlife of the festival, you will want nothing more than to escape back to Hauntology again and again.