If you’re looking for an antidote to the serious, the well made, the satirically potent or the meaningful, US writer Qui Nguyen’s irony-drenched horror-comedy fits the bill.
Goes like this.
High school dweeb and vlogger Lewis (Bardiya McKinnon) has announced to the world that he’s going to pitch woo to his best friend Margaret (Mia Morrissey). What better place to do that than at a Halloween party thrown by high school princess Tina (Laura Murphy)?
But instead of hooking up with Margaret, Lewis takes part in a jokey summon-up-darkness game and accidentally opens a portal to Hell.
Enter a serial-killer in a Leatherface-style bunny mask, a trash-talking demonic teddy bear called Edgar, and Alice (Stella Ye), who glowers through her hair like the creepy girl in Ringu and kicks serious ass.
“It’s like the story Alice in Wonderland,” says a freaked-out Lewis, who then immediately revises his assessment as if the audience is full of lawyers representing the C.S. Lewis estate. “Which this situation actually doesn’t resemble at all. Like in any way. Not even in theme.”
What a Simpsons Treehouse of Horror episode might do in 10 minutes, Alice in Slasherland draws out to 90-minutes plus of spoofy dialogue, martial arts fight scenes, choreographed mass murder and a torchy cabaret number sung by The Devil.
As a result, this production – directed by Rachel Kerry – peaks early and plateaus lengthily.
The performances are pretty good though. McKinnon is well cast as the nerdy Lewis. Murphy imbues a possessed Tina with satanic va-voom. Justin Amankwah’s voicing and manipulation of the trash-talking Edgar (a terrific puppet designed and made by Indi Redding) is excellent.
The screaming, the cries of “WHAT THE FUCK!”, the bleeding and the dying … all done in mock seriousness with commendable verve.
But scary? Not really. The violence is more choreographic than graphic. There’s some fake blood spewed about the place (props to the demon-costumed stage management team who make regular appearances to wipe the floor up) but you’d have to be very squeamish to find it affecting. Leave the white jeans at home if you plan to sit in the front row.