The Blood Brothers Present: The Master Of Horror
Written by James Comtois, Qui Nguyen, Mac
Directed by Pete Boisvert and Patrick Shearer
Nosedive Productions (http://www.nosediveproductions.com)
Gene Frankel Theatre,
Review by Michael D. Jackson
Just in time for Halloween, Nosedive Productions brings back another program of what has become an annual series of productions based in the Grand Guignol, a Parisian tradition of theatrical horror, this time based on short stories by Stephen King. Full of splattering blood, dangerous psychos and true suspense laced with good humor, the production succeeds as much for being unique as for its timely seasonal run. There are all too few thrillers in the American theatre and it is a devilish delight to have one for October.
Directors Pete Boisvert and Patrick Shearer stage three one-acts sewn together by broken sections of a piece called “The Last Waltz”, featuring the directors as the ghoulish Blood Brothers, who host the proceedings. Written by James Comtois, “The Last Waltz” does little on its own other than to evoke a few of King’s bigger classics and to bring cohesion to the production, but the bits are fun as well as sometimes shocking.
“Nona”, by James Comtois and told by Jeremy Goren as Loverboy, depicts a college dropout who meets a strange girl (Jessi Gotta) in a truck stop. After finding themselves prey to a redneck brawl, the two escape by hitchhiking and end up in a series of situations where Loverboy has no choice but to kill each person standing in their way. The many fight scenes and stabbings are theatrical, but very effective, causing a wince and noises of shock from the audience. The little story is immediately engaging and handled just right by director and cast to create the proper tone which makes the performance really work.
“Quitters, Inc.” by Qui Nguyen tells the story of Richard Morrison (Michael Criscuolo) who joins the organization of the title in order to quit smoking. However, the methods are quite severe – horrifying, actually – placing Richard’s family in ever more peril should he fall off the wagon and smoke another cigarette. Criscuolo is properly bewildered as the husband who got himself in too deep and he is admirably supported by Marsha Martinez as his wife and Marc Landers as the maniacal guidance counselor. The moral of the story: if you can’t quit smoking cold turkey, you’ll die a lot sooner. So true, regardless of how you slice it.
“Paranoid: Chant” features Jessi Gotta as The Paranoiac, an expression of a rather unsteady girl, which serves as a transition into “In The Deathroom” by Mac Rogers. This final one act depicts Fletcher (Ben Trawick-Smith), an ex-reporter from the New York Times, who is being held in an interrogation room in enemy territory. Fletcher has only his smarts to get himself out of some horrible torture. The suspense comes from waiting to see what horrors the villains will perpetrate on Fletcher and then how he escapes past many obstacles. There isn’t much more to it than to wonder how Fletcher will get out of his predicament. What the villains are up to and why they have kidnapped Fletcher is largely unknown – simple suspense is the thing and the fun of it all.
Rounding out the cast in various roles is Rebecca Comtois and Christian Toth. Stephanie Cox-Williams gets credit for special effects which included some very realistic slaughter and Leslie Hughes has created some wonderful make up for the Blood Brothers, making them properly frightful. Other design departments only got by with fulfilling the basic needs of the production. However, even on a shoestring, The Master of Horror made for a nice collection of little thrillers with a big amount of fun.
Copyright 2008 by Michael D. Jackson
Return to Volume Fourteen, Number Six Index
Return to Volume Fourteen Index
Return to Home Page