Regional Reviews: Seattle
Campy Thankskilling at Balagan is the Right Kind of Turkey
Hollywood hacks who dreamt up the likes of My Bloody Valentine, Silent Night, Deadly Night and the like carved out another mayhem-laced grade Z fright fest entitled Thankskilling in 2009. Jeff Thomson, Jordan Mann and David Eck have adapted the film script into a short, silly, very enjoyable musical which serves as this year's Balagan Theatre holiday offering, and includes some cast members from the company's recent Carrie - The Musical.
Composer Thomson and lyricist Mann co-wrote the far gentler and more sincere Trails, which played at Village Theatre last season, but this work is about as tongue in cheek as you can get, and aspires to be little more than bawdy fun, at which it succeeds in spades. The opening number "No Refunds" sets up the whole 60-minute romp, laden with such stereotypes as Johnny the Jock, Kirsten the Virgin, Ali the Slut, Darren the Nerd, Billy the Hick, Random Guy, and of course the killer Turkie, who has risen from the grave just in time for dinner! The show comes complete with a drinking game for audience participation. Have a shot, murder for murder!
Director Douglas Willott invests this low budget romp with just the right raucous, in your face spirit, and the cast is dead on perfect. Lindsay Larson is so gamely naughty as Ali the Slut that one hates to see her offed so soon, Kody Bringman and Larissa Schmitz, reunited from similar roles in Carrie - The Musical manage (barely) to play the jock and the virgin with deadpan sincerity. Evan Wolz as Billy and Evan Hildebrand as Darren get the standout number in he show, celebrating their unlikely "Manlove." Brian Lange's Random Guy takes on all the minor characters and raises the chuckle bar as an increasingly inebriated Drinking Game Host. Jeff Orton relishes his role as Turkie, fitted with a hilarious plastic turkey face mask. The cast and the audience have more fun than you will find at any of the traditional holiday productions in town.
Thankskilling runs through December 14, 2013, at Cornish Playhouse Studio Theatre in Seattle Center. For more information go to www.balagantheatre.org or call 206-329-1050.- David Edward Hughes