SIDESHOW OF THE DAMNED by Eric Woolfe, directed by Michael Waller, with Richard Alan Campbell, Rebecca Northan, Jason Charters, Kimwun Perehinec and Steve Ross. Presented by Eldritch Theatre at the Tim Sims Playhouse (56 Blue Jays Way). Runs to November 9, Thursday-Friday 8:30 and 10:30 pm, Saturday 10:30 pm. $15. 416-343-0011. Rating: NNN
"make 'em laugh" is playwright Eric Woolfe's motto -- and if you can throw a fright into 'em at the same time, all the better. He plies his skill to good effect in Sideshow Of The Damned, a remount, with the addition of a new scene, of the SummerWorks hit.Intentionally overwritten with corny graveyard humour and directed with gleeful Grand Guignol effects by Michael Waller, the four tales are gorily ripped from horror comics of the 50s, complete with mad scientists, monsters from hell and the walking dead.
The cast -- Steve Ross, Richard Alan Campbell, Jason Charters, Rebecca Northan and Kimwun Perehinec -- has fun with the material, going cheerfully over the top as limbs fly and stylized blood spurts all over the place. The standout is Perehinec -- who's just done some impressive work at Stratford -- as the object of an entomologist's experiment, a bent fortune teller who gets her comeuppance and a well-endowed imp whose magical gifts are rotten at the core.
If there's a problem, it's the lightweight way the material is handled. Nothing wrong with running quickly through each story (the four tales together last a little more than an hour), but the evening could be nastier and scarier and even more entertaining.theatre reviews