Picking up the story where the old, Amicus horror omnibuses of the 60s left off, creator-director Amanda Marquardts campy, late-night homage to the medieval morality play is the show for those who couldnt afford to plunk down $80 for Cirque Berserk. Marquardts theme is the seven deadly sins; her subject, however, is the punishments these lurid, personifications of Wrath (Aryiel Hartman), Gluttony (Dariean Henderson), Pride (the fine Celeste Creel), Lust (Claude Duhamel), Sloth (Josh Tolle), Envy (Mishelle Freire) and Greed (John Klopping) wield to those in the afterlife being treated to the tortures of the damned. (Presumably what awaited the likes of Joan Collins and Ian Hendry after being pushed into the void by crypt keeper Ralph Richardson.) For these sinners, perdition takes the form of a three-ring circus, presided over by ringmaster Satan (a muscular Lamont Webb), in which the miscreant souls must reenact their transgressions on each other at the prodding of an entire demonology of harlequin-like assistants. Thus you have the proud Creel as a narcissistic, albeit bulimic bathing beauty who is subsequently humiliated by a lustful Duhamel by being transformed into a hausfrau automaton. Duhamel and his partner in carnality, the angry Hartman, later get a steam pressing with hot, electric irons
and so on. The non-verbal episodes are elegantly staged using mime, dumb show, tableau vivant, gibberish and a knockabout style of interpretive dance that should have Isadora Duncan rolling in her grave. ZJU Theater Group, 4850 Lankershim Blvd., N. Hlywd.; Sat., 10:30 p.m., thru Aug. 22. (818) 202-4120.
Saturdays, 10:30 p.m. Starts: Aug. 1. Continues through Aug. 22, 2009