Night two of this years TCHF and I took in the two remaining shows, Dogwatch Productions Channel and The Creepy Boys’ The Creepy Boys. The Festival runs through Halloween, with the five shows rotating. To purchase tickets to any or all performances go to https://www.tchorrorfestival.com/ On the site you will find descriptions of each show as well as each shows ratings for Language, Violence, and Blood. Below I’ve copied the schedule for the final two days. There is still time to see all five.
Saturday, Oct 30
1:00pm Channel / Dogwatch Productions
2:30pm Blood Nocturne / Winding Sheet
4:00pm Creepy Boys / Creepy Boys
5:30pm Splinter / Dangerous Productions
7:00pm Blackout in a Blackout / Blackout Improv
8:30pm Channel / Dogwatch Productions
10:00pm Blood Nocturne / Winding Sheet
Sunday, October 31
1:00pm Blackout in a Blackout / Blackout Improv
2:30pm Creepy Boys / Creepy Boys
4:00pm Blood Nocturne / Winding Sheet
5:30pm Channel / Dogwatch Productions
7:00pm Splinter / Dangerous Productions
First up was Channel about a lighting designer working alone at night in an old theatre. The Designer is played by Elizabeth Efteland, I think, I’m going off of info I found from it’s run at the Minnesota Fringe Festival*. She is under pressure to solve certain lighting issues the show is having but is also trying to care for her mother who has some sort of health issue and needs her. She tries to juggle all of these things including talking to her old roommate who has a job for her in Chicago if she can get away and her sister who leaves her to deal with their mother. Meanwhile, the house audio keeps coming on and the lights keep going out. I want to say, and then terror ensues but unfortunately, it’s more like tedium ensues. Channel felt like an SNL skit that they didn’t know how to start, the inverse of their usual trouble. It ends rather well, though the resolution, which I followed, was really in need of some clarity. This felt like a 30 minute show stretched to an hour. There were also a lot of decisions that took one out of the show. I don’t know how the phones these characters have operate, but it isn’t like any phone I’ve ever used in real life. She is struggling to get her work done and get home to her mother and I wanted to tell her to stay off her phone and concentrate. It’s hard to have sympathy for a character who is feeling overwhelmed by the amount of work to be done, yet seems to spend all of her time on her phone. When it gets creepy, it is well done. Lighting and sound effects are very effective. And Efteland is a good performer, she does her best to keep us interested, her performance and her emotions ring true. I just wish she had a better script to work with. This was the weak link of this years festival, but to be fair it’s a strong year.
Thankfully, the evening and the festival for me ended on a high note. The Creepy Boys isn’t scary, but it is a bit creepy, very energetic, and really funny. The Creepy Boys are identical twins played by S.E. Grummett and Sam Kruger, no relation, and this is their birthday party. Like several of the shows at this years festival, the performances begin as soon as the house opens. The performers play ushers and engage with the audience until the lights go down and they become The Creepy Boys! This show has everything, singing, dancing, laughs, shocks, even a dash of nudity. I don’t know what I was expecting but it’s safe to say it wasn’t what we got. It’s a mix of backstory, future fantasies, broken homes and of course Satan. There was a manic and engaging energy to the show that just about wears you out. Grummett and Kruger are wildly talented switching gears from moment to moment, you never know where this ride is going and that’s a lot of the fun and therefore, I’ll say no more. It’s definitely one of the must sees of the festival.
*Quick note to the Festival runners, make each show handout programs or put the casts and creatives info on the TCHF webpage. As a reviewer that information really helps and as an audience member, I always like to know who was responsible so I know the next time I saw their name to take notice.