by Lynn on November 5, 2014

in The Passionate Playgoer

At the Red Sandcastle Theatre, 922 Queen St. E.

Written by Eric Woolfe
Directed by Marjorie Chan
Designed by Melanie McNeill
Lighting by Arun Srinivasan
Sound by Jude Haines
Starring: Kimwun Perehinec
Eric Woolfe

An incomprehensible story, frantically presented trying to entertain and failing.

The Story. I wouldn’t know where to begin. Dr. Frankenstein’s hunchbacked assistant loves the waitress in a local diner. He has Dr. Frankenstein’s notebook, which will come in handy later on. The waitress is having an affair with a man married to a blind heiress. He won’t leave his wife until the waitress gives him an ultimatum. Other people are sweet on the waitress including a bully who is not averse to a bit of violence to get his way. The story gets more and more convoluted, involving more and more characters so if I have some facts wrong here, it doesn’t matter.

The Production. Designer Melanie McNeill has created a moody, eerie set of gloom. There are strange bottles on a counter top. There is a table and chairs stage right. A multi-purpose large rectangular structure into and out of which characters come and go. There are many openings and locks on it. A hunched puppet plays Dr. Frankenstein’s assistant, or boy if you will. The puppets are clever. I believe Eric Woolfe also created the puppets even though there is no program credit. Woolfe along with Kimwun Perehinec manipulate various puppets as well as play characters. Perehinec is the more nuanced and subtler of the two. Woolfe just seems to bellow everything and it’s so unnecessary since the theatre at the Red Sandcastle is so small. I do wonder why director Marjorie Chan didn’t give Woolfe a note to cut all the bellowing by half or more. There is endless activity changing costumes, masks, voices and puppets. But rather than give the whole thing a sense of a quick pace, it was just slowed everything down until you just wanted it all to stop.

Comment. It’s been several years since I’ve seen one of Eric Woolfe’s Halloween extravaganzas. I recall the last production had a story so dense with incident and characters I was hard pressed to relate what the story was actually about. The production involved a few actors, many puppets, lots of masks and much activity changing from one character to another. It was exhausting watching it and trying to keep the story straight. I just gave up in the end and decided it would be a long time before I saw another Eric Woolfe epic.

A long time has passed. I went to see Frankenstein’s Boy, Eric Woolfe’s latest. More of the same. The story is incomprehensible. The script is leaden with effort to be funny. I would have made mention of my frequent complaint with small companies: the dates of the production are no where to be seen in the program and neither is the place where it’s taking place, or how to get tickets. Perhaps that’s a blessing in disguise.

Eldritch Theatre presents:

Opened: Oct. 23, 2014
Closes: Nov. 8, 2014
Cast: 1 man, 1 woman.
Running Time: 90 minutes.

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