01 November 2009

Review: Oh, The Horror!

Oh, The Horror!
Georgie Carpenter and Gambin's Gore Galore Productions
31 October 2009

Oh The Horror! What better way to spend all hallow’s eve than with Carrie and Norman singing a duet about their mums at the premiere season of a new Melbourne-created rock’n’roll musical.

With a sold out audience shivering with antici ... you know the line, it felt like what it must have been like at the first season of that show penned by Richard O’Brien. Oh The Horror! isn’t ready for midnight performances and a movie deal yet, but it’s certainly on its way.

Babs and Vincent are the financially-challenged high school kids who have to work at the local store on Halloween. Of course, they are dissed by spunky rich kids and feeling really down, but their next customers all look like characters straight from the Elvira horror movie marathon they are missing.

Dracula, Norman, Baby Jane, Leatherface and friends are the real deal. They’ve been chased into town by an angry mob and are lucky to find support and understanding from their fellow freaks in the store. They are all having a tough time figuring out their place in the world, especially the dead ones, and people like Freddie and Carrie are feeling the urge to kill. Perhaps Babs and Vincent have some suggestions?

With themes of not belonging and the cruelty of humans, Oh The Horror! is like a 24-hour scream-fest marathon condensed into two hours, with just as many laughs and the potential for a few tears and some moments of real fear and regret.

As all the great musicals are re-worked and re-written many times before they hit the bright lights, Oh The Horror! needs to know that there are lines, plot and songs that are clad in red shirts and about to beam down to a hostile planet. Sorry to mix a sci-fi nerd metaphor with the horror-dork ones, but the writing needs Freddie’s help. And, although it’s gunna hurt, it will be so much better for it, because there’s a bloody amazing, laugh-til-you bleed show hidden in there.

First run scripts are always filled with great moments and great writing that are great, but they don’t help the overall story. Carrie’s song was brilliant – I loved it – but does her re-telling of the whole film help the story of the night? Oh The Horror! needs to find the essence of each songs and decide exactly why it’s there, what it’s saying and how it moves the story forward. If they are distracting from the ultimate story...get out the chainsaw.

The plot is only hitting a couple of bumps, but the story and the characters need work, especially with motivation (they all need to have something important at... stake) and deciding if they are their movie-selves or someone new. I adored Regan and her foul mouthed delights, but she wasn’t the terrified Regan I know from the film that made me sleep with the light on when I was 16.

Oh The Horror! is in its early days and as it finds its way to bigger theatres and longer runs (someone please give this show some solid development support) it’s going to be one of those that you just have to go back and see again.

This review appeared on AussieTheatre.com.

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