You had me at “fantasy musical”. I love fantasy fiction, I love musicals, it would be difficult for me not to like this show. It helps that this eager group of performers bring all their enthusiasm to bringing that premise to life in a fun-filled loving parody of classic fantasy clichés. It’s easy to tell that the creators of The Quest genuinely love fantasy and rip the genre’s most tired tropes to shreds with nothing but the most honest affection.
The script, courtesy of Benjamin Kybettis, is delightfully stupid with silly deconstructions of classic character types, and a liberal portion of awful jokes delivered at just the right moments. The characters are ones you can have fun following, even if no one’s taking it too seriously, and still engage with as people (even if they’re fairy ridiculous people). The story-line, of course, follows the set pattern of classic fantasy and is simple but also very enjoyable to watch unfold. There’s the right amount of unique stupid twists and silly gags in there to make The Quest original among fantasy parodies even without the musical aspects.
On that subject, the whole thing is also dotted with highly catchy original songs from composer, Judith Moore, that carry familiar fantasy flavours but nevertheless remain original. I’m still humming the main theme to myself as I write this review. Some of the cast need to work on projecting just a little but for the most part the lyrics are clear and audible which is refreshing for musicals at the Fringe. The musicians also do a fabulous job, and really to help set and maintain the atmosphere for the show as it begins and progresses.
The cast, quite clearly, also have the time of their lives with this silly caper. Jonathan Eddyshaw as Glamdor the Purple with Orange Spots has a hilariously excellent grasp of physical and facial comedy and exactly the right kind of voice for being on stage. Naomi Heffer is wonderfully extra and faux-mystical as priestess D’Arlana, and Ananya Mishra brings all the appropriate amount of ham to her part as the villainous Witch-Queen of Darkwing. Rachael Twyford does an excellent job of playing the necessary straighter role of Princess
Daddy-Issues Lauriel, especially in contrast to Jasper Rose’s beautifully peculiar turn as her father, Rondiel, the King of Elvenheart. Izzy Smith makes for a young hero we can all “aww” at, and Jacob Griffiths mercilessly deconstructs the Ranger archetype with his performance as Thom Ryder. The remaining additional cast all being just as fantastic, whether as drunken dwarfs, elven guards, or goblin minions.
On a quick note, I’ll so observe that the set and costuming are taken to just the right level; not too elaborate but not noticeably cheap either, and still transportative enough to drag you into their parodic fantasy realm.
A toe-tapping, ridiculous romp, that will have you laughing, groaning a few times, and in the end, leave you smiling as you leave with the songs still in your head. The Quest is an great show for anyone who loves fantasy and probably even for those who only have a passing familiarity with the genre. It’s performed with such vigour, enthusiasm, and self-awareness that you can’t help but enjoy it as much as the cast do.