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Stephen King's Ghost Brothers of Darkland County

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Most people probably have no idea what the hell Ghost Brothers of Darkland County is. This is a play that was written by Stephen King and the music was done by John Cougar Mellencamp. It has been in the works for many years and now has finally made its debut. The Alliance Theater in Atlanta, Georgia has been the chosen venue for its first run before it makes its way to other cities. Being a fan of both gentlemen it became a no brainer that I needed to see this. I have been to many plays and was curious on how one would work with King and Mellencamp behind it. Would it be awful? Is there a chance I would I look at King differently now? I just had to find out for myself. King has conquered books, movies, television. Same goes with Mellencamp on the musical side. These two have done it all so why not try a play.

The story is about two brothers (one a writer and the other a musician) they simply do not get along. Their father decides he needs to tell them a family secret that still haunts him. Without giving too much away the father had brothers that passed away and their ghosts are forever in his conscious. He is battling with his own demons whether or not to tell them the truth. This creates 2 more characters that act as narrarator of sorts. One of them represents an angel and another one being a devil. Or that is how I see it.

As we entered the theater the set design has clearly set the mood. It has a very ominous look to it with its muted colors and its fantastic use of lighting. As we sat down we saw all the silhouettes of ghost walking across the stage. The use of a fan casts a very large constant moving shadow on the stage for a nice touch. There are several sections on the stage to create a couple different settings. A bar, cabin, outdoor settings complete with water tower and garage. The water tower was used several times to cast the main characters image as to influence someone's decision for the worse.

This whole play solely relies on the actorsí performance to sell the story. King is known for creating very entertaining and interesting characters. This is no exception for King. He clearly saw the importance of his characters. The cast does a wonderful job on keeping your attention throughout the play. Without this the whole thing could have been a bust. Whoever did the casting for this hit the nail right on the head. The only notable person in the cast is none other than Justin Guarini. Even though he lost to Kelly Clarkson on the first season of American Idol he seems to be making a name for himself being involved with this play.

The plays first act ends with a very strong closing song with the cast. The music as a whole is this dark twangy style that fits nicely with the subject content of the play. The second act is much more entertaining as our story comes closer to its end. I do not want to give this away but what I saw was something that I never expected from a play. It was truly entertaining and enjoyable for even the slightest fan of theater. King delivers a story with a shocking end and Mellencamp creates the music that accompanies it with perfection. I can honestly say I have never seen anything like this and unlikely to see again. I am hoping this creates a new style of these productions. This would bring an entire new audience to shows. If you have the opportunity to see this I cannot recommend it enough. I don't know where it will show up but if it comes your way it may be your only chance to catch this unique performance.

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  1. Seebaruk's Avatar
    Damn, I really like King and I love the blues, but I'm guessing this'll never make it over the pond to London. Hopefully they'll release a DVD at some point...
  2. astraton's Avatar
    This sound great. Thanks for the review.