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Thursday, September 22, 2011

Horror and Gore Wear Pinstripes and a Fedora in Thrillpeddlers' Fear Over Frisco

Posted on Thu, Sep 22, 2011 at 12:00 PM

Kara Emry and Eric Tyson Wertz in The Drug - DAVID ALLEN
  • David Allen
  • Kara Emry and Eric Tyson Wertz in The Drug

It's 1920s Paris. It's 1940s and 1960s San Francisco. It's deviant, luscious, drag-a-licious, and as witty as it is outlandish. And it's gore -- lots of gore. It's Thrillpeddlers' Shocktoberfest!! 12: Fear Over Frisco, and it starts this weekend at the Hypnodrome.

This dedicated little theater troupe that draws members from various sectors of queer, drag, and burlesque scenes seems to get stronger as time goes on. It has made a Halloween-season tradition of emulating short plays from the Theater of the Grand Guignol, a 1920s Parisian troupe whose aim was to shock and overwhelm audiences with graphic subject matter and props. In recent years it has enlisted the help of Scrumbly Koldewyn, an original member of the Cockettes, an absurdist gender-bending company from the late 1960s and early '70s. This year it adds San Francisco "czar of noir" Eddie Muller.

Bonni Suval and Daniel Bakken in An Obvious Explanation - DAVID ALLEN
  • David Allen
  • Bonni Suval and Daniel Bakken in An Obvious Explanation

Muller wrote and directs two of the three short plays in the show, The Grand Inquisitor and An Obvious Explanation. The first depicts a young woman confronting who she believes is the widow of a serial killer, while the second involves a heist gone wrong, a case of amnesia, and "memory serum."

The third play, The Drug, is directed by Thrillpeddlers' artistic director Russell Blackwood. Originally set in Saigon, Muller has rewritten it to take place in San Francisco. It involves the disfigurement (natch) of a famous artist, and a young prosecutor torn between the truth and a burning desire for the main suspect.

Expect the surprise ending to be less Raymond Chandler and more H.P. Lovecraft.

Previews for Shocktoberfest!! 12: Fear Over Frisco start at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Sept. 23-24. The show continues Thursday-Saturday through Nov. 19. All shows are at the Hypnodrome, 575 10th St. (at Bryant), S.F. Admission is $25-$35.

For more events in San Francisco this week and beyond, check out our calendar section. Follow us on Twitter at @ExhibitionistSF and like us on Facebook.

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