Review: Vampires at Shadowbox Live

  • Credit: Studio 66 photo
From the August 30, 2012 edition

“Vampires,” the ambitious new Stage 2 production from Shadowbox Live, seems like a big departure for the troupe, which jettisons the usual comedy for two hours of hard rock and dance numbers.

Shadowbox regulars are used to seeing dance routines woven into a segment of the sketch shows, but there’s something different about the way they all swirl together as “Vampires” unfolds. Dance numbers in this show tend to blend together because there’s no narrative to hold them together. It seems like a missed opportunity to tell a story with “Vampires”; instead, the audience sees a series of incongruent dances.

That’s not to say that “Vampires” isn’t an engaging and imaginative show.

Leah Haviland’s take on Nine Inch Nails’ “The Only Time” is one of the show’s standout numbers. In the dark and intense number, vampire dancers revel in a church as a priest and nun try to scare them away.

The other standout is a version of Alanis Morissette’s “Uninvited,” sung by Noelle Grandison. The dance is led by Katy Psenicka (who is also Shadowbox’s choreographer) playing the Countess Bathory, a 16th century Hungarian royal accused of murdering hundreds of servant girls. In “Vampires,” the Countess continues her killing spree, offing a few more victims in a haunting performance.

Other highlights include Jamie Barrow and Nikki Fagin performing “Pardon Me” by Incubus; JT Walker III performing “Don’t Fear the Reaper” by Blue Oyster Cult; and Stev Guyer performing “Something I Can Never Have” by Nine Inch Nails.