Book and Lyrics by Drac & Jamieson Child; Music by Michael Zahorak
Directed by Jamieson Child
Part of the 2015 New York International Fringe Festival
Off Off Broadway, Musical
Runs through 8.30.15
VENUE #9: Theatre 80, 80 St. Marks Place
by Keith Paul Medelis on 8.27.15
BOTTOM LINE: Kill Sister, Kill! is a disturbing, lackluster new musical.
There’s something sort of Little Shop of Horrors-like about this show. We start in the dumps of 1970s New York singing songs about how much life sucks. Then we get goody-two-shoes nun Lily (Samantha Walkes) who’s never done a bad thing in her life. She’s convinced by Kitty (a sequined, disco-queen Astrid Atherly) to a bar. Eventually, she resorts to some pretty awful things you’d never expect because it’s the right thing to do. We also get a kind of evil dentist character in Dagger (a disgusting Aaron Williams) who’s into shaking things up with his womanizing, coke fueled behavior. He sets out with brother Ronnie (Thomas Finn) to have an evening they’ll never forget that ends in some blood being spilled and revenge plots set in motion. And, as you may suggest from this plays unmistakable title, most of these characters end of dead. (But the exclamation point makes it all fun and games.)
There are some unexpected enjoyments with Kill Sister, Kill! Thomas Finn turns in a brave and bizarrely likeable performance. His modern crooner voice is also quite pleasing and you generally care for the affection he has for Teresa (Heather Motut). Costume designer Judith Ann Clancy paints some convincing portraits of the era and her gorey props are the highlight of this show.
Book writers Drac Child and Jamieson Child (also the director) seem hell-bent on stuffing all of the most offensive things possible into one show: drug use, violence, nuns turning their backs to their faith, misogyny, murder, and—perhaps worst of all—a rather un-tastefully executed rape. Trouble is it’s all pretty flat, with soggy lines like “lets put out the fire between my thighs” and “come test drive my truck.” Just about every eye-rolling euphemism for sex and all your sex related needs are packed into this thing.
Kill Sister, Kill! has all the makings of a B-movie slasher parody, but the style doesn't quite get there. Instead, the show offers a strong sincerity, and it’s hard to know what to make of it. I enjoy the premise of good nun gone bad, righting the wrongs of society through murder rather than prayer like some kind of fucked-up version of Dexter. Hopefully with a little more development Kill Sister, Kill will be able to achieve the fun irreverence it seems to be after. The title song simply repeats “Fuck this city” a seemingly endless amount of times. These people just want to get out of this terrible place. It’s hard to blame them.
(Kill Sister, Kill! A Musical plays at VENUE #9: Theatre 80, 80 St. Marks Place, through August 30, 2015. Performances are Wed 8/26 at 6:30; Thu 8/27 at 7:30; Fri 8/28 at 9; Sat 8/29 at 1:15; and Sun 8/30 at 1:15. There is no late seating at FringeNYC. Tickets are $18 and are available at fringenyc.org. For more information visit bygonetheatre.com.)