A striking performer with a commanding voice... Mesmerizing, intelligent and effective
— The Huffington Post
There is something ethereal about Rachael Dease. Her mesmeric aura and powerful mezzo-soprano voice give her a potent stage presence and high musical intelligence and cultural literacy inform all her work. From a Small, Distant World remains an impressive addition to the repertoire of one of our most valuable musicians.
— The West Australian
..a fascinating, poignant, and beautiful concerto of crime, if you will. Dease’s voice is gorgeous and haunting, and to hear it makes you feel suddenly warm and surrounded by beauty. It is nothing short of mesmerizing.
This is theatre bravery at some of its finest
— The ArtsWire NYC
Devastatingly moving and breath-takingly beautiful... deserving of the ovations and the tears
Rachael Dease is an accomplished artist whose compositions transcend a label. She is a poet with exceptional depth. Bold, perceptive, and endearing her hymns deliver the knowledge of awareness and sense of peace.

…And so as this critic’s mind was kissed with the last projected image, my heart was warmed with a smile of hope and the words of a stranger.
— Theatre New York
What I was not expecting was a meditative state that sometimes overtook me—the gorgeous, haunting and sometimes nerve-rattling music at times had a physical effect on me when paired with the photos.
A show like this doesn’t come along too often. I would highly recommend having the experience.
— NY Theatre Review
Hauntingly beautiful...Dease is a striking presence. Her vocals can be ethereal one moment, and then shortly afterwards her powerful voice takes on a harsher quality.

The sounds the string quartet draw from their instruments go beyond the merely traditional, as they also tap out percussive beats, pluck their strings, and in one prolonged instrumental section create a weird, scratchy sound that verges on the atonal but is filled with dramatic urgency.
— TheatreMania New York
City of Shadows is also likely to be among the grimmest and the most moving work in the NYC Festival. Dease’s music is by turns eerie, poignant, and even warm, and the level of musicianship among the company is excellent.

…City of Shadows is ultimately an enigma, much like the act of murder itself.
— Theatre Is Easy – NYC
Part beautiful noise, part pop song, part film score... at one point reaching a spectacular crescendo of experimental noise... Dease has the unique ability to create something beautiful out of what’s essentially morbid.

City of Shadows left one with a feeling that instead of being depressed about this human event we all have to deal with, it had a cathartic effect...
— The West Australian
An alarming performance for the unprepared…As an art piece this performance expressed not only the beauty of some talented artists but the need for peace in ourselves and compassion towards each other. Dease was aiming to make a statement through her show, people matter,and it brought her and her team a standing ovation from the bewildered viewers.
— The Music
Every now and then a performance comes along that excels on all levels that is match by a story ever so intriguing…one of 2013’s performance highlights.
With an epic, clarion, colourful voice , Dease makes this alien time and these unfamiliar places belong to us, as if the photographs captured our own memories
— The Australian
City of Shadows makes Underbelly‘s confected criminal horrors seem tame.
The photographs by themselves are powerful; with the music, they’re hypnotic. It’s a strange, moving performance which gets under my skin, and makes me glad to leave the confines of the theatre and take my place once more among the living
Dease’s voice is magnificent, at once brawny and ghostly… it swirls and soars around the macabre images. The songs take lyrical cues from the rich language of film noir, almost biblical in tenor, canvassing revenge, regret, sorrow and redemption. The dark mood of these small sagas lingers
The crimes of the past inspire the art of the present in this emotive and intriguing performance. Dease’s haunting and deeply affecting vocals fill the Malthouse’s Tower Theatre, and create a chilling atmosphere as the subsequent stories unfold.

City of Shadows sits very comfortably between the confronting and uncomfortable. With the superb string section reminiscent of the Dirty Three, this show is not one for the faint-hearted, or weak-stomached. It’s an emotive and intriguing performance that’s sure to appeal to lovers of good stories
Dease, presiding, moves confidently over the seething aural surface. Calm but severe, her bright red hair an ominous contrast to the silvery black and white of the photographs. At her side hangs a base drum, suspended from the ceiling, adding to the ritualistic air.
Accompanied by the plaintive or sometimes shrieking strains of a string quartet (Violin: Brian Kruger & Hayley-Jane Ayres; Viola: Aaron Wyatt; Cello: Tristen Parr), Dease uses her powerful, resonant voice to sing original tunes of sadness, death, blood and loss.
The cumulative effect of City of Shadows is atmospheric, mystifying and fascinatingly haunting.

It allows time and space for contemplation and a chance to interrogate one’s own response to the all too human subjects and, at the same time, has a hypnotic engulfing effect