Horror-Fest

These four horror-themed vignettes run the gamut from the darkly humorous to ghoulish. The bill opens with Zombie Joe’s creepy “Procession of Devils.” As directed by Denise Devin, it’s a delightfully grotesque danse macabre with Kyle Clare, Amelia Megan Gotham, Conrad Lawson, Billy Minogue, and Rhea Richardson as a brood of flesh-eaters whose insatiable appetites cause them to turn on one of their own. The script is as unsettling as the performers’ eerie, orgiastic movements. Adam Neubauer directs Greg Kaczynski’s “End of The Road” with Jim Eshom and Amelia Megan Gotham portraying tattered survivors of an apocalyptic event who are forced to inhabit an abandoned building. Reduced to eating polluted canned goods and reminiscing about their former lives, they eventually fall prey to the darker forces surrounding them. Prosaic writing doesn’t complement the actors’ energetic performances, and the director’s overuse of gory effects doesn’t help. In Eshom’s “A Lesson Learned,” Jana Wimer and Lucas Salazar are forced to take refuge in a derelict house because of a storm; the house’s bloody history and restless spirits make the evening fatally memorable. Gotham’s direction and technical design are nothing short of superb. Neubauer’s “Growing” is a riotously funny take on a mad scientist. Dr. Scofield (the fine Conrad Lawson) plays a desperately unhinged inventor whose master plan is to create a new life form called “Victa Proventus” (Andrew Fish in a hoot of a creaturely costume). But, alas, the experiment goes awry and starts to feast on everything in sight. Jana Wimer cleverly directs. Zombie Joe’s Theater Group, 4850 Lankershim Blvd., North Hollywood, Fri.-Sat. 8:30 p.m. through Aug. 29. (818) 202-4120.
Fridays, Saturdays, 8:30 p.m. Starts: Aug. 7. Continues through Aug. 29, 2009


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