Chills and thrills in a theatre town: stake out a stage near you

Lew Wetherell and Jason Hardwick in The Bone House. Photo supplied.

By Liz Nicholls, 12thnight.ca

Uncanny, isn’t it?, how often the words “ordinary nice polite guy-next-door” show up in reports of homicidal rampages?

Researcher Eugene Crowley, the noted “mind-hunter,” is in town this week to give a public lecture on the tracking of serial killers. And it’s his mission in The Bone House to make us understand that serial killers aren’t freaks. They’re unremarkable, run-of-the-mill, indistinguishable from the rest of us — from the person at the next desk, next in line at the LRT ticket machine … or sitting next to you at a public lecture on serial killers.

No wonder they’re elusive; they have paradox on their side:when you’re looking for a serial killer, you’re looking for someone have no reason to be looking for. The real horror is the familiar, after all.

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Not to alarm you, but Crowley’s life’s work has led him to a killer who’s still at large, with 20 murders on his resume. Crowley has tracked The Midnight Cowboy to the Edmonton area.

Nineteen years ago, playwright Marty Chan, until then known mostly for light romantic comedies, took a turn into the dark with his Sterling Award-winning thriller The Bone House — which I remember as a chilling, genuinely unnerving experience.

It’s since been revived elsewhere. And now The Bone House is back, in a production directed by Jennifer Kreziewicz. Thursday through Oct. 31 you’ll find Eugene Crowley (Lew Wetherell) in lecture mode at the Varscona Hotel on Whyte, with Jason Hardwick and Nicole Grainger.  Tickets: www.universe.com.

The Comedy Company, Shadow Theatre. Photo by Marc J Chalifoux.

•Neil Grahn’s The Comedy Company premieres at Shadow Theatre this week. An improbable story of comedy under monumental duress, inspired by real-life history, it follows the fortunes in World War I of the soldiers of Princess Patricia’s Light Infantry Division assigned to create light entertainment for their cohorts. John Hudson’s production, with its all-star cast of top-drawer Edmonton actors,  opens Thursday at the Varscona, and runs through Nov. 11. Tickets: shadowtheatre.org.

Dale Chiernow and Wild Rose, Hey Ladies!. Photo supplied.

•In other seasonal news, Hey Ladies! opens their new season of “comedy/ info-tainment/ musical/ game/ talk show” spectaculars Friday at the Roxy. Leona Brausen, Cathleen Rootsaert, and Davina Stewart are the creator/ co-hosts, joined by Noel Taylor. Special guests include the pop folk duo F&M, Wild North’s Dale Gienow, and Wild Rose (a stage-worthy porcupine). Naturally, there are seasonal games and crafts (“The Magic of Mushrooms”).

Point to ponder: New frontiers in diversity at the Roxy. The opening production of the season, Jezebel, At The Still Point, which closed last weekend, was another inter-species foray onto the stage. Jezebel is a French bulldog.   

Tickets: 780-453-2440, TIX on the Square (tixonthesquare.ca, 780-420-1757).

•Saturday night marks the return to the Roxy of the great cabaret artiste Patricia Zentilli, star of last season’s Mamma Mia! at the Citadel, to launch season #2 of her themed cabarets. PattyZee@TheRoxy marries songs and personal stories, and for Saturday’s show the theme, a juicy one, is the green-eyed monster, jealousy and envy. Special guests are Jeremy Baumung (Zentilli’s co-star in the Theatre Network production of The Last Five Years) and Nadine Hunt (Edmonton Story Slam winner). Composer Stephanie Urquhart is at the keyboard.

Tickets: 780-453-2440, theatrenetwork.ca, or at the door.

Continuing

The Maggie Tree production of Blood: A Scientific Romance at the Backstage Theatre through Saturday. 12thnight.ca talks to playwright Meg Braem here. Meet director Brenley Charkow and the “twins” who are the subject of an ever-creepier experiment here. And there’s a 12thnight REVIEW here. Tickets: 780-409-1910, tickets.fringetheatre.ca.

Dead Centre of Town XI at the Blatchford Field Air Hangar, horror from real-life history at Fort Edmonton through Oct. 31. Check out the 12thnight.ca REVIEW here.  12thnight.ca talks to playwright Megan Dart about our lurid civic past here. Tickets: eventbrite.ca

Holly Turner, Kristin Johston in Origin of Species, Northern Light Theatre. Photo by Ian Jackson, Epic Photography

Origin of the Species opens the Northern Light Theatre season at the Studio Theatre in the ATB Financial Arts Barns, through Saturday. Read the 12thnight.ca REVIEW here.  Meet Northern Light Theatre artistic director Trevor Schmidt here. Tickets: 780-471-1586, northernlighttheatre.com.

Two Good Knights: The Music of Sir Tom Jones and Sir Elton John at the Mayfield through Sunday. The 12thnight.ca REVIEW here. Tickets: mayfieldtheatre.ca

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