‘Shocktoberfest 12’ — campy, chilling noir trio from Thrillpeddlers 

click to enlarge A tight spot: Bonni Suval and Daniel Bakken appear in Eddie Muller’s “An Obvious Explanation” from Thrillpeddlers’ “Shocktoberfest 12: Fear Over Frisco.” (Courtesy photo) - A TIGHT SPOT: BONNI SUVAL AND DANIEL BAKKEN APPEAR IN EDDIE MULLER’S “AN OBVIOUS EXPLANATION” FROM THRILLPEDDLERS’ “SHOCKTOBERFEST 12: FEAR OVER FRISCO.” (COURTESY PHOTO)
  • A tight spot: Bonni Suval and Daniel Bakken appear in Eddie Muller’s “An Obvious Explanation” from Thrillpeddlers’ “Shocktoberfest 12: Fear Over Frisco.” (Courtesy photo)
  • A tight spot: Bonni Suval and Daniel Bakken appear in Eddie Muller’s “An Obvious Explanation” from Thrillpeddlers’ “Shocktoberfest 12: Fear Over Frisco.” (Courtesy photo)

If Mickey and Judy, the Addams Family, Rod Serling and the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence got together to put on a show, it might look something like “Shocktoberfest 12: Fear Over Frisco,” the fun and campy evening of “titillation and thrills” now on the boards at Thrillpeddlers’ Hypnodrome stage.

The show opens with a festive title-tune production number penned by Scrumbly Koldewyn and Eddie Muller performed by the entire company. What the various soloists lack in musical prowess, the ensemble more than covers in enthusiasm.

Then comes the first of three very intriguing short plays either written or adapted to San Francisco settings of the 1920s, 1950s and 1990s.

Bonni Suval beautifully plays Lulu, a haunted and haunting girl on a dark mission in “The Grand Inquisitor.” She is well-matched with Mary Gibboney’s Hazel, a guilt-wracked old woman.

In the piece written and directed by Muller, there is a wonderfully creepy cat-and-mouse quality to the interplay of the two women, each wanting something nearly unspeakable from the other.

Steve Bolinger and Birdie-Bob Watt provide some Johnny Mercer musical cover for the set-change into “An Obvious Explanation,” also by Muller, which elicits excellent performances despite a somewhat slapdash conclusion.

Flynn de Marco is period-perfect as a small-time crook trying to hustle an amnesiac — the wonderfully manic Daniel Bakken — out of a stash of money. Suval returns, all blond and hard-boiled, as a psychiatrist wanting to experiment on her lost patient. Zelda Koznofski is the plot trigger, and Eric Tyson Wertz, Joshua Devore and Jim Jeske the flatfoots.

Cindy Goldfield stages a delightful, toe-tapping duel of angels and demons to Irving Berlin’s “Pack Up Your Sins and Go to the Devil,” followed by “The Drug,” Muller’s adaptation of René Berton’s “La Drogue.”

Wertz and de Marco return as a district attorney and the victim of the crime he is trying to solve, and deliver brilliantly etched examples of genre acting, consistently reaching the top, but never going over it in a bad way.

The entire company, including director Russell Blackwood, appears in this tale of obsession for a mystery woman (Kära Emry) with special recognition necessary for the ever-adaptable Watt as the opium dealer Luang-Si.

Thrillpeddlers do a lot in a little space and this show demonstrates admirable technical prowess in lighting (Nicholas Torre), scenics (James Blackwood), costumes (Tina Sogliuzzo) and sound (Chris Paulina).

THEATER REVIEW

Shocktoberfest 12: Fear Over Frisco

Presented by Thrillpeddlers

Where: Hypnodrome, 575 10th St., San Francisco

When: 8 p.m. Thursdays-Saturdays; closes Nov. 19

Tickets: $25 to $35

Contact: (800) 838-3006, www.thrillpeddlers.com

About The Author

Robert Sokol

Robert Sokol

Bio:
Robert Sokol is the editor at BAYSTAGES, the creative director at VIA MEDIA, and a lifelong arts supporter. Diva wrangler, cinefiler, and occasional saloon singer, he has been touching showbiz all his life. (So far no restraining orders have been issued!)... more
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