When I think about October, it’s crisp, cool air in the mornings; gorgeous colors on trees; pumpkins and jack o’ lanterns; college football games and my anniversary. For many others, October is the perfect month to scare the bejesus out of everyone around them, with creepy costumes, horror stories, haunted houses, and scary plays. Instead of fear, panic and alarm, the audience at Hell in a Handbag’s hilarious horror trilogy, “Scream, Queen, Scream!”, was howling with laughter. I give it 4 Spotlights.
Kudos to David Cerda, the genius behind “Caged Dames”, “Christmas Dearest”, “The Birds” and many others, also wrote “Scream, Queen, Scream!”. Since he models all of his plays on old movies – frequently the noir black and white movies of the thirties and forties – it follows that he must have spent a lot of time watching them. At any rate, blurbs say that “Scream, Queen, Scream!” was inspired by “Creepshow”, “Tales from the Crypt” and “Night Gallery”.
The Countess of Dragula (John Cardone) emcees “Scream, Queen, Scream!”. Wearing a fishnet body stocking over just leather and bling, she frequently tosses the flirty fringe on her unique headdress/hat. The Countess showed plenty of fang-itude as she scolded the audience into screaming just a little louder on cue.
I think I saw a little of “The Thing from Another Planet” and “Nine to Five” in the first twisted tale, “Taco Tuesday”. Office work is boring and repetitive until a new temp (Rachel Hadlock) manages to fix the Office Master 2000. Office biatch Candy with a “C” (Kristopher Bottrall) sees the Temp drinking oil and making out with the Office Master 2000, but nobody will believe her. What happens on Taco Tuesday is hilariously gory.
In the second tale, the world’s meanest wife, Betty Carr (David Cerda) pushes her poor husband (Chad Ingold), a mild-mannered college professor, to the edge and beyond. The deadly contents of a decorative box found on campus, gives him a wonderful idea …
“Shut Up and Die, Maggie” is a tribute to the so-called hag horror films of the ‘60s starring Bette Davis and/or Joan Crawford. Beautiful Maggie and studious Aggie Honeycutt (Ed Jones) are identical twins. When Maggie’s fiancé, Beauregard Bullhorn (Chazie Bly), gets himself murdered, Maggie is committed to the insane asylum. Twenty years later, she’s rehabilitated and release, planning to go for some peace and quiet – and a maybe little vengeance. Over the years, Aggie hasn’t changed a bit, she’s still uptight and buttoned up. Fireworks happen when Maggie and Aggie get together, so this is a warning for the audience – keep your head down!
“Scream Queen Scream” runs through October 31st at Mary’s Attic, 5400 N. Clark St., Chicago. Performances are Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 pm; Sundays at 6:30; additional performances on select dates. Running time is about 90 minutes, no intermission. Tickets range from $22-$30. Street parking is available in the neighborhood. FYI www.handbagproductions.org.
To see what others are saying, visit www.theatreinchicago.com, go to Review Round-up and click at “Scream Queen Scream”