Metro Studio Theatre
(Fringe Venue 3)
1411 Quadra Street
Aug 31 05:30 pm
Sep 01 02:00 pm
13 Dead Dreams of “Eugene” could not be any more timely. Hot on the heels of the cinematic adaptation of Scary Tales to Tell in the Dark, Fringe theatre goers can have the thrill of experiencing a shadow play and trying to solve a mystery in the grand tradition of Alfred Hitchcock‘s best whodunits (the poster design is heavily inspired from Vertigo) and Man Ray‘s surrealist works. Technical spoiler alert: most of the projections are common objects that show creators Erika Kate MacDonald and Paul Strickland found in the kitchen. This duo offers a song and dance in between separate narratives such as “Water Under the Bridge” and “Mummy of Sabina, Ohio.”
When considering how this show within a show is constructed, I couldn’t help but be reminded of Bubba Hotep with the latter story. Like the undead pharaoh who can strut his stuff, he’s in search for something lost long ago. Unlike Jon Landsdale’s work, it’s an entire town that’s beset with danger than a retirement home. In the story arc that defines this play, everyone is having nightmares because of a curse presumably caused by a different corpse that’s been dug up and put on display in hopes a traveller can identify him one day.
This ghost asks who am I? One simple but unsettling image is that of a haunted manual typewriter, with a haunting voice over, and the sound of endless typing. This simple sound design gave me gentle goosebumps. The various other projections were hit and miss, guns included, to evoke a properly eerie quality. As for innovation, to see victims bleed light had me spellbound. This technique is rarely realized live; I know it’s easy to fashion in a CGI world but in other mediums, creating it is all but forgotten. Props goes to these two performers for going old school, using flashlights of different intensities, to create some really cool effects. It makes me wonder what else they can do if they included a fog machine and barn doors (a box where light can be tightened to specific shapes) to enhance scenes in their show.
13 Dead Dreams made its debut in 2016 in Minnesota and have since gained a following. With some supernatural tales, word of mouth is a slow but steady process before it becomes very well known as the investigations which eventually inspired The Conjuring films. As much as I’d love to see an adaptation into another form of media, I doubt it’ll happen. Alvin Schwartz and del Toro beat Macdonald and Strickland to the punch; time is needed before both an coexist happily.
While these two claim that you may have trouble falling asleep after seeing their show, I’m the type who can easily fall asleep to episodes of Creepy Canada. Nightmares do not come easily for me, but for others, I advise keeping a nuclear powered proton gun nearby.
4 Stars out of 5
For more 2019 Victoria Fringe Theatre Reviews, please visit Twohungryblokes.com