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"Shocktoberfest!! 2010: Kiss of Blood": Show Preview 

Wednesday, Oct 27 2010
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The Thrillpeddlers are quintessential San Francisco: a bunch of freaks performing freaky shows. They emulate, celebrate, and reinterpret the Parisian shock and horror theater of the Grand Guignol with elaborate set pieces and lush, exotic costuming. Like San Francisco itself, artistic director Russell Blackwood and company aren't afraid to dabble in S&M, cross-dressing, sexual deviance, and plain old lusty fun — and this show is all of those. This round of three short plays involves severed fingers, gas masks, drag queens, botched brain surgery, and a giant functional guillotine at center stage. The Thrillpeddlers are very good at what they do, but I wish they would rely a little less on over-the-top campiness and more on what they advertise: danger, shock, and titillation. Perhaps that's why they invited the brilliant Brazilian Guignol theater company Vigor Mortis to perform with them after a few select shows (Oct. 28-31). Their one-act, The Forsaken Laboratory, is not to be missed. It's an incredibly rendered horror pantomime involving a priest, a nun, and a man giving birth to a demon. This feels like Grand Guignol's true potential.

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Nathaniel Eaton

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