ADVERTISING AT CURTAINUP
Short Term Listings
BOOKS and CDs
LETTERS TO EDITOR
A CurtainUp Review
Alice in Slasherland
The storyline is familiar and fun: Endearing (yet dorky) teen Lewis (an appropriately cast Carlo Alban) heads off to a Halloween costume party with the hopes of finally telling his longtime friend Margaret his true feelings for her. Things go awry when the high school hottie Duncan shows an interest as well, and out of frustration, Lewis fulfills a dare to look in a hand mirror and repeat one of those spooky horror movie phrases. What ensues has nothing to do with Alice in Wonderland (a point which writer Nguyen is happy to have his characters self-reference). A Mysterious semi-dead, semi-alive girl, Alice, takes a liking to Lewis, saving his and Margaret's lives many times from the various demons that have been accidentally released. There's even a talking teddy bear that turns up, claiming Alice is his girlfriend. He, too, comes along for the ride.
There are many fights with demons, and many killings onstage by the demons— all complete with a pop-rock score, and plenty of fake blood. There is a purposeful B-Movie feel to these bloody action scenes, allowing the audience to laugh along with the performers and production crew. And after all, who wants a super-realistic killing to happen ten feet from their face?
Co-Artistic Directors of Vampire Cowboys Theatre Company, writer Qui Nyugen and director Robert Ross Parker, have been working in this sci-fi comic genre for some time. Alice in Slasherland may be a bit of a high point for the company. The production value (overall look) is solid, the story is not too convoluted, the dialogue is snappy, and the direction crisp. From other VCTC shows I have seen, Parker and Nyugen seem to have learned from their past productions — which were also entertaining, though a bit clunky-er. All of the performers are seasoned Vampire Cowboy company members, and it shows in both their fight choreography ability and understanding of the show's aesthetic.
This is not to say that you'll enjoy Slasherland no matter what. If you don't get a kick out of X-Men, or dislike Buffy the Vampire Slayer, you probably won't feel any differently about VCTC shows. The play does also make use of stereotypes (does the teddy bear really have to talk like that AND be played by a black actor?), and includes an unnecessary girl-on-girl make out scene for male fantasy purposes. But the good news is, this is the perfect vehicle to take those friends to that "never like theater," yet can't stop watching Spiderman.