Buffy aficionados will instantly recognise the theme and the name itself of Hush – is this a coincidence or is it a nod to the Joss Whedon classic, which portrayed an entire town losing its voice to the villains?

It never really crossed my mind actually and I doubt that the composer of the work, Luke Saydon, made that link. I am, however ,grateful you brought it up as I now feel my character’s ‘coolness factor’ has increased even further!

That being said though, the elements of eerie magic that Whedon’s Gentlemen had in the show is present in both the musical’s story and the character of The Maestro

Your role in the musical is that of Evil Maestro – what can you tell us about him?

All I can say is that he is a great and proud lover of music, a stern man who hates mediocrity and popularity in music and life. He also hated Gus Nightingale’s (the main character) parents; they were successful musicians. Let’s just say that The Maestro is not against projecting his hatred onto the child.

He also gains control of a magic baton that will help achieve his master plan. I can’t, however, give too much away.

Some actors shy away from taking on the role of villain. How do you feel about this?

To me it’s a breath of fresh air. The majority of roles I play usually tend to be on the comic side, the idiot, the clown. But being evil, maniacal or cruel on stage is always fresh and exciting, as I’m not really like that in real life. I promise.

What is the biggest challenge of the role?

The voice. And I am not simply referring to the six minute piece that Luke composed for the role, but even more so to the delivery in speech. To play the role of a villain requires you to play around with different tones and volumes until you find just the appropriate level of evil.

And the biggest satisfaction?

As far as the role is concerned, the satisfaction lies in having the privilege of trying out a new and original character, something that is not very common, especially when it comes to musicals in Malta.

Denise Mulholland and Luke Saydon fleshed out a great character with dreams, flaws, an entire ideology and a somewhat disturbing past. And for some yet unknown, and probably troubling reason, I am loving this role.

This is an original musical penned by a young Maltese artist. Do you feel this marks an important milestone for Maltese theatre?

Absolutely. Luke  had already written a musical with Teatru Malta Youth Theatre, Three Sunsets, which was also another great show (I had watched it twice).

Putting up musicals from Broadway and the West End is fantastic, of course, and they do bring the audiences in. But, this production will stand to prove that the same can be achieved with new material and, to an extent, it would be more rewarding for the audience as they leave with a new experience, a new story, new melodies and in this case, rather teary-eyed.

How has audience response been?

The people who have seen Denise Mulholland and TMYT at work know what they are capable of and they are excited to watch this one, and it’s understandable, because the TMYT ensemble is amazing.

Hush is being produced by the Manoel Theatre’s education programme Toi Toi, in collaboration with the Valletta 2018 Foundation. The musical is written and directed by Denise Mulholland, with music and lyrics by Luke Saydon, and performed by Teatru Manoel Youth Theatre. It runs between March 17 and 19, with school performances on March 16 and 20. Tickets can be purchased from www.teatrumanoel.com.mt, bookings@teatrumanoel.com.mt or calling 2124 6389.

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