Bonnie Sherman as Margaret, and Edgar the Teddy Bear. (Not pictured: Sheldon Best). Photo by Jim Baldassare..
BOTTOM LINE: Delightful, delicious, and delovely. 15 minutes short of campy, hilarious theatrical perfection.
This is my first Vampire Cowboys adventure and I'm officially a fan for life. They really know who they are, as producers, and a company that knows itself is always well worth a look.
Alice in Slasherland, written by Qui Nguyen and directed by Robert Ross Parker, is the story of Lewis Diaz, a teenager who finds himself in a fight for his life against all manner of demons, underworld creatures, and the devil herself, aided by his best friend Margeret (who he's also in L.O.V.E. with, natch), a teddy bear with a foul mouth, and Alice, who Lewis accidently raises from the dead! Needless to say, this is a very serious piece of theatre.
A campy treat, this show is all those things that I love: fun, light-hearted, intelligent, and well-done, laced with tongue-in-cheek bravado, a little of the old 'oh no they di'int!' Oh yes they did. Nguyen and Parker find their rhythm here, the two of them are obviously of one mind. Carlo Alban is adorable as Lewis, a sweet, affable young man with zero swagger and a video blog no one watches except the "two older German guys in Germany who totally have a crush on him in a NAMBLA pedo kind of way" (Lewis says it, I just repeat it here for your delight and mine). Supporting him are the perfectly foiled Bonnie Sherman (as his high school lady love), Amy Kim Waschke (Alice the Undead), solid supporting players Andrea Marie Smith and Tom Myers (various roles), and the marvelous Sheldon Best, whose work as Edgar the Teddy Bear kind of made my week.
The show design is fun and functional, and there's enough stage blood and over-the-top costuming to satisfy even the most horror-hungry stage-going folk. The show is giddy and delirious, a giant gag show with equal parts campy ketchup-bottle horror and heart. My only wish, oddly enough, is for 10-15 minutes less. Leave me wanting more, Vampires!
Go see it, everyone. Alice in Slasherland is not to be missed.
(Alice in Slasherland plays at HERE Arts Center, 145 6th Avenue between Spring and Broome Streets, through April 10, 2010. Performances are Thursdays through Sundays at 8:30pm, also April 10th at 4pm. Running time is 1 hour and 30 minutes, no intermission. For tickets, visit HERE.org or call 212.352.3101.)