Adapted, Directed and Designed by Dan Bianchi
Produced by Radio Theatre
Off Off Broadway, New Play
Runs through 10.12.14
The Kraine Theater, 85 East 4th Street
by Greg Solomon on 10.5.14
BOTTOM LINE: Going back to the roots of storytelling, Radio Theatre’s Lovecraft Festival is charming and campy at the same time.
Radio Theatre is a lovely addition to the off off Broadway theatre scene. Though it’s been around for several years, but this was my first exposure to it. Utilizing minimal effects but stellar sound design by Wes Shippee, the H.P. Lovecraft Festival, helmed by Dan Bianchi, is a nostalgic throwback to simpler forms of entertainment, and shows that a modern audience can still be taken in by work that is a century old.
As a horror junkie and a reformed tabletop role-playing gamer, the works of Lovecraft have always been a source of reference for me, although I somehow have never managed to read them directly. In the evocative hands of this company, I’d be happy to listen to the 38 tales that were not performed the night I attended. The tales told at my performance were "The Statement of Randolph Carter" and "The Dunwich Horror." The former was fairly short and had a steady build with just the right balance of humor and gravitas and completely sold me on Radio Theatre. Frank Zilinyi, in particular, has a soulful voice that is reminiscent of Hammer horror at its best (think old school Bela Legosi and the like).
"The Dunwich Horror" is a much more ambitious piece and perhaps lasted a bit longer than necessary. The attempts to bring variety to the tale pushed it over the bounds of horror into camp more than a few times. While definitely entertaining (and likely to appeal to a broader audience), I’d have preferred a darker sombre take especially after the home run of the first story. Even so, I’d love to see what the troupe does with the other tales running in repertory: "The Shadow Over Innsmouth," "The Moon Bog," "The Beast In The Cave," "From Beyond," "The Call Of Cthulhu" and "Dagon."
(The 6th Annual Lovecraft Festival plays The Kraine Theater, 85 East 4th Street, through October 12, 2014. Remaining performances are 10/9, 10/10, 10/11 and 10/12 at 7:30. Tickets are $18. To purchase tickets for more show info visit radiotheatrenyc.com.)