Twin Cities Horror Festival XII: Two Reviews from Day Four. Overtoun and Kin
Before we jump into todays reviews again I want to urge you to purchase your tickets ahead of time. On The third day of the festival When I went online to check status of tickets there was already two sold out performances and another listed as a Sellout Risk. For More information check out the Festivals website at https://www.tchorrorfestival.com/ and to purchase tickets go to https://tix.gobo.show/festival/tchfxii
Overtoun, a Spiral Theater Original Production is about a bridge in Scotland where dogs are commiting suicide. The description gave many of us pause. Are we sure we want to see a horror festival play about dog suicide? This sounds like it’s going to be very heavy. It isn’t. This is a comedic play filled with wordplay that is deceptively clever. The cast of five actors make it look easy but I promise you pulling off this script takes a certain kind of talent, it reminds one of a Marx Brothers movie, Playwright and Assistant Director Kyle Munshower, exploits every double meaning and leaves no homophone unturned. The scenic design makes effective use of reversible flats on wheels that allow for effective location changes with a minimum of deadtime. What deadtime there is they cover nicely with the live musical score by Music Director Griffin McEnery. Anytime you need to make significant scene changes you risk breaking the spell, but if you need to, this is how to do it. The wonderfully tongue in cheek cast is Anya Naylor, Anjekine Mae Ramirez, Mar Burris, Carlyn Grande, and Alex Logeman. Overtoun takes a depressing idea and makes something witty and infectiously funny. Focusing on the absurdities of the people of Overtoun they never wade to deeply into the truly horrific theme dog suicide.
Kin, a Special When Lit production written and starring TCHF’s Artistic Director Nissa Nordland Morgan, is a change of pace from the other shows I’ve seen so far this festival. Rather than being peppered throughout with strange occurrences, fast paced plots, and large doses of humor, Kin is more of a slow burn. The first scene takes the time to establish and familiarize us with the newly married Mona and Aurora, played by Nissa Nordland Morgan and Tara Lucchino, who are spending New Years at a remote cabin in northern MN. The dialogue hints that there is something that Mona doesn’t want to talk about but it’s primarily staged as a way for us to get to know the characters and a bit about their pasts. It’s a sexually charged scene that in no way prepares you for the turn the play takes with the introduction of Accalia, Mona’s mother played by Shanan Custer in the next scene. The script explores the folklore about She-Wolves, family, and love. Three strong performances, but there is no denying that the introduction of Custer’s character in the second scene adds a jolt of energy and menace to the play. Custer dominates her scenes in a thrilling performance. The Scenic Design by Zach Morgan is simple, clean, and effective, giving you everything you need to set the scene and nothing superfluous.
For some behind the scenes information about the TCHF listen to season 2 episode 5 of the Twin cities Theater Chat podcast https://twincitiestheaterchat.buzzsprout.com/2150807/13763195
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