VAMPIRE COWBOYS THEATRE COMPANY

www.vampirecowboys.com

presents

ALICE IN SLASHERLAND

Written by QUI NGUYEN

Directed by ROBERT ROSS PARKER

 

HERE, www.here.org

145 Sixth Avenue, Manhattan

March 18 through April 10, 2010

 

Scenic & Lighting Design NICK FRANCONE

Costume Design JESSICA SHAY

Original Music & Sound Design SHANE RETTIG

Fight Direction QUI NGUYEN

Puppet Design DAVID VALENTINE

Video Design MATTHEW TENNIE

Production Stage Manager DANIELLE BUCCINO

Asst. Stage Manager MARINA STEINBERG

Producer ABBY MARCUS

Press Representative JIM BALDASSARE

Cast

Carlo Alban – Lewis

Sheldon Best – Edgar/Duncan/Gareth

Tom Myers – Jacob/T-Bone/Burnout/Tommy/Sheriff Dunwoody

Bonnie Sherman – Margaret

Andrea Marie Smith – Tina/Hurt/Matilda

Amy Kim Waschke – Alice

A staple of the downtown theater scene, the Vampire Cowboys are back, and this time around, in ALICE IN SLASHERLAND, the world is in jeopardy, and only an unlikely gang of good guys can hope to save us. The valiant band of crusaders includes awkward teens, a “girl” called Alice, and a talking teddy bear. Left to their own devices to combat a handful of fanciful foes, including a lascivious Lucifer, faceless ghouls, emissaries, and other zombie-like creatures of our nightmares, these kids use wits, wiles, fear and even a handy racket to fight off imminent death. To write much more than that about the plot of would practically be repetitive, but this is not the sort of show one goes to for complicated story lines. This is comic strip aesthetics come to life, and all that matters is that the ride be fun.

As I not only hoped, but expected, the creative partnership of Nguyen, Parker and crew have delivered another installment of guilty pleasures (replete with a retard joke) and humor-injected action. From the moment the lights dim, the fun begins with one of the Cowboys’ clever reminders to turn cell phones off (this time around, courtesy of a short horror flick). Attentions quickly turn to the live action, some introductory mayhem, and to the seemingly mundane existence of a kid named Lewis (Carlo Alban) hoping to confess his love to the girl of his dreams (Bonnie Sherman) at a Halloween party. Things do not go as planned with the girl, the party, or the rest of the ensuing days, as Lewis unintentionally opens a portal to Hell, and embarks on adventures very far from the Lewis Carroll variety.

ALICE IN SLASHERLAND, while derivative, is a respectable addition to the multimedia genre. There is a masked bogeyman named Jacob (Tom Myers, in multiple roles), who comes the closest to resembling a rabbit in his faceless slasher ensemble, but other than that, and an emissary named Alice, all similarities to Wonderland will be left at the door. Even a video interlude that purports to tell the actual story of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland has only a superficial resemblance to the classic. This play has very little to do with falling down a hole, but much to do with staying out of the pit.

Not quite as steeped in non-stop stage combat as some Vampire Cowboys productions, SLASHERLAND maintains a respectable foothold in the realm of action that require some kicks, gymnastics, and site gags. Talking teddy Edgar (puppeteered and portrayed by Sheldon Best) provides some great moments, and there is plenty of spewed blood, and even an hilarious moment of air “guitar” after a prolific killing spree. The stark but appropriate set features trees that look like assemblages of pieces of wood that have been slashed with surgical precision and put back together. Costumes are good. Acting is funny and witty. Fight direction and stage direction work hand in hand.

I had a great time at ALICE IN SLASHERLAND, as did the rest of the audience, based on their reactions. It was the first time I laughed the whole week, and once the show got started, it was hard to keep the smiles contained.