Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Texas Chainsaw Musical, Blank Canvas Theatre

If you like blood and body counts in your play-going experience, but aren’t that into Shakespeare, then consider a trip to a gory patch of Texas back country in Texas Chainsaw Musical. Blank Canvas Theatre is revisiting this gore-fest, which was their fledgling company’s first show a year or so ago.

And thanks to director Patrick Ciamacco and his rowdy band of Blank Canvas players, every homicide is a splatter-drenched comical treat. It all centers on Eddy (otherwise known as “Leatherface”), a tuneful sociopath who gleefully kills any living thing within reach.

Based on the movie of almost the same name, the book by Christopher T. Minori features a fairly lame subplot about a “pantywaist” named Steven, and the music and lyrics by Cory Bytof are nothing very special.

But the gore and laughs spill out practically non-stop as Eddy and his eventual partner in crime Lucretia (Kate Leigh Michalski) off everyone from Eddy’s mom to a pregnant census taker to the UPS guy.

The blood-soaked cast includes Neely Gevaart as innocent Kristy, an object of Eddy’s blood lust, and Leslie Andrews as a nun who rocks the joint in “The Gospel According to Steven.” Kim Escut also stands out as a couple different mothers with serious family issues.

In the role of Eddy, Perren Hedderson is a quivering, twitching mass of psychopathologies—lighting his pet cat on fire before he moves on to his bipedal prey—and he’s hilarious.

Weirdly, in a production with so many gory special effects (anyone in the first two rows gets sprayed with blood, guaranteed), the quiet moments are some of the funniest. And the supporting cast, many of whom play multiple roles, wade into the carnage with cheerful abandon.

Best advice: Grab some of those fun-size candy bars from your plastic Halloween pumpkin bowl and have a blast with this irreverent, song-infused bloodbath.

Texas Chainsaw Musical
Through November 2 at Blank Canvas Theatre, 78th Street Studio, W. 78th Street, 440-941-0458

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