Twin Cities Horror Festival XI Day Four Reviews of Three Shows: Victor Invictus, Bad Egg, and All Your White Darlings.

Victor Invictus

Victor Invictus is everything I was expecting the shows to be my first year covering the TCHF back in 2019. It has everything: Frankenstein’s Monster, Murder, Mad Scientists, Dark and Stormy nights, blood and quite literally guts. This is a continuation of the Frankenstein story following his creature decades after the creator’s demise. There is an effort between the Creature and a female scientist to track down portions of Victor Frankenstein’s journal in an effort to fix the creature’s body and mind. The creature is haunted in his mind by the voices of those whose body parts he is the sum of as well as that of Frankenstein himself. There are surprises and twists along the way. It’s a spooky great time! Added elements that set this show above the rest are numerous. First there is a live organist accompanying the production adding a suitably atmospheric score written and performed by Steven Zubich. There are Foley and sound effects created live by Andrew Rosdail like an old time radio broadcast. The Creature is a life-size puppet, a creative touch that really added to the “monster story” feel. It’s beautiful creation designed and built by the co-director and co-writer of the show Marc Berg, his partner in the directing and writing of the play is Thalia Kostman. It’s wonderfully puppeteered and voiced by Braden Joseph, Keegan Robinson, and Thalia Kostman. A wonderful cast all around with a standout being Thomas Buan who first came to our attention last August playing Pooh Bear in the Stages of MN Fringe of the Day Award winner Who’s Afraid of Winnie The Pooh. This is definitely one for classic horror fans to catch.

Remaining Show Times
Wednesday, October 26th 10:30pm
Thursday, October 27th 6pm
Saturday, October 29th 7:30pm

Language – 1
Violence – 4
Blood – 3
Warning: lightning flashes, loud screams
Recommended Age: 13+

Bad Egg

Bad Egg is a twist on the film version of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. Veruca Salt, here known as V, tells her version of what happened that day in the chocolate factory. Taking place a couple of years after the events of the original story it’s V’s first day in a new school and everyone thinks they know her, that she is a bad egg. V will share her story which is acted out as she tells it. It’s funny and dark and contains themes of abandonment, guilt, and revenge. It makes us look at this beloved childhood tale in a whole new light. Written and directed by Denzel Belin, it’s an off the wall idea that works incredibly well. Moving between cartoonish to darkly dramatic with perfect ease under Belin’s guidance. With wonderful performances from the entire cast, particularly Bella Maldonado as V, who sells the “girl unfavorably characterized by today’s media” approach, and Phil Schramm whose wonderfully goofy performance as The Kook, aka Willy Wonka, effectively channels Gene Wilder’s Wonka.

Remaining Show Times
Tuesday, October 25th 7:30pm
Thursday, October 27th 10:30pm
Saturday, October 29th 9pm

Ratings (1-5)
Language – 1
Violence – 3
Blood – 2
Age Recommendation: 13+
​Warnings: Discussion of Child Harm, Darkness, Screaming

All Your White Darlings

All Your White Darlings emerges as probably the best show of the TCHF Season XI. Dangerous Productions, the theater company behind this show, is always near the top, always among the bloodiest and genuinely scary of each years productions. This year it trades in a portion of scary and replaces it with social commentary. The brilliant script by TCHF Executive Director Duck Washington replaces scares with horror holding a mirror up to society and making us confront ourselves. Smart doesn’t do the script justice, it makes us confront white privilege in both glaringly obvious ways and subtle insidious ways as well. Theo is a “diversity hire” black man brought to Nile Island, a seeming utopia in which to work and live. After a year there are a total of eight black people on the island. When white islanders begin to be murdered in response to each new killing of a black man my police around the country, suspicion falls on the those few black residents. We see the true colors of Theo’s white coworkers and lover and in doing so we are asked to reflect on how we would ourselves react. Even Theo, the victim of the story, makes certain assumptions and that is where the script really shows it’s skill. Everything about this production is top notch especially the performance of Chad Heslup as Theo. Other standouts in the impeccable cast are Jay Kistler as Gary, an all to realistic unhinged white resident with a grudge to bear, and Sean Dillon as Sam Theo’s recruiter and boss. If I made this sound like medicine, I’ve sold it short, it’s also a fantastic entertainment that keeps you engrossed until the very end.

Remaining Show Times
Tuesday, October 25th 9pm
Friday, October 28th 6pm
Sunday, October 30th 7:30pm

Ratings (1-5)
Language – 5
Violence – 5
Blood – 5
Warnings: Themes of racial violence.
Suggested Age: 16+

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