Monday, April 24, 2006

Devil Land: 04/24/2006

Horror on stage is really difficult to pull off. The true descendant of the French Theatre du Grand Guignol is the horror film. On stage it takes a strong director creating the right mood with the help of a committed cast. The Immediate Theater Company’s production of Desi Moreno-Penson’s Devil Land comes very close to getting it right. Devil Land is about the kidnapping of a young girl from the Bronx by her building’s superintendent and his psycho-religious wife. Originally intending the three to live together as a family and claming to save the little girl from her sinful mother, eventually the wife’s insanity completely takes over, deciding that the child has to be killed. The girl, Destiny (wonderfully played by an adult, Paula Ehrenberg), spends her time captive in the buildings boiler room (great set by Ryan Elliot Kravetz ) reading from a Dr. Seuss book and having dreamlike conversations with the Grinch, whom she believes is living in the boiler. Form me these fantasy elements were the least successful part of an overall tense and disturbing evening. As Destiny’s captors, Desi Moreno-Penson and Miguel Sierra are outstanding.

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