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Imagine if Amanda Palmer channeled the ghost of Edward Gorey to create a Saturday morning puppet show version of ‘Tales from the Crypt’. As difficult as that particular pop cultural mash-up might be to flesh out in the imagination, The Ghastly Dreadfuls manages to pull the concept off with all the aplomb of a vampyr’s wink.

Venture down to the lowest levels of the Center for Puppetry Arts, take a right at Harlequin Hall and you will be treated to a fine cabaret served bone chilled with a twist of the macabre. There, a Jazz Funeral procession of haunted marionettes follows, marching coquettishly through the twisting narratives of skit and story. An evening of singing ghouls, dancing skeletons and roaring ghost trains soon ensue culminating in the grand guignol of a finale; an exquisite adaptation of Angela Carter’s kinky take on Blue Beard folktale, “The Bloody Chamber”.

Now to be honest, to some of us at least, making puppets creepy is sort of like making a windowless van parked outside a playground creepy. But making them not only creepy, but downright frightening, along with funny, sexy and integral to the tales they inhabit as well is much rarer trick. However that said, I wouldn’t recommend this one for the kids. The show gets a little blue… and I don’t mean the cadaverous hue of the troupe. Maybe leave the little brats tethered by leashes at the Jim Henson exhibit upstairs and just check in on them during the intermission. It’s safe to say that they certainly won’t be fed to the puppets in your absence… most of them anyway.

So, should you be looking for an evening of gruesome, ghoulish, dare I say… ghastly thrills, and need a break from preambulating around the endless miles of haunted attractions, then one could find no more an engaging time, at least on this side of the grave, with the Ghastly Dreadfuls.



Photo by Clay Walker
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Being an old Skinny Puppy/Download fan from back in the day, I'm really looking forward to this one. Hoping to wrangle up some of my outside the 'scene' friends to go with me and check it out. See you there?

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September 2016

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