Monday, April 14, 2008

Jason goes to the Hypnodrome and enjoys some Flaming Sin

Regular readers will know that as well as movies I also love legitimate theater, especially in the form of the Thrillpeddlers. Their spring show, currently extended through at least the second weekend of May, is "Flaming Sin: London's Grand Guignol"

Big thanks to the Thrillpeddlers and their ringleader Russell Blackwood for squeezing us in despite not buying tickets in advance. They even held the show for 5 minutes as one of my friends arrived late (ummm...sorry Maria, if I'd known you weren't already inside, I would've had them wait for you, too).

It starts with--get this--the U.S. premiere of a long-lost Noel Coward play. How's that for legitimate theater? "The Better Half" is an oh-so-proper sex farce (very British) about a bored wife and a servant girl who's in love with the way-too-noble husband. Upper crust absurdity, just ripe for satire.

Next up was "The Old Women" aka "A Crime in the Madhouse". Get this, I've been seeing their shows for so long I remember when they performed this back at the Odeon Bar (in the pre-Hypnodrome days). This is allegedly the play that killed the London Grand Guignol, as it was sneaked past the censors. It's better in the Hypnodrome, but as I recall the ending was slightly different, and I prefer the original ending (I believe that was the translated French version, not the English version). Anyway, a couple of crazy old hags torture a young lady whose about to be released from an asylum. Nice and nasty!

Next the pace and absurdity picked up with "The Blue Hour", a little nudie-cutie movies, a little knife-throwing (movies still), a little guillotine (now we're into the live stuff on stage!), a little Scheisse, Scheisse, Scheisse! A little spanking, and a little Oom-pah-pah! (And some other stuff, this was a selection of really brief skits, to end the night with a good laugh).

And finally, as a last treat before the show ended, they popped in the DVD of Tim Burton's Sweeney Todd. Not for the movie, for the special feature 20 minute documentary on Grand Guignol, starring the Thrillpeddlers, about half of which was shot in the Hypnodrome! Cool!

So this show plays Friday and Saturday for about another month. Go check it out!

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