Fed up on gore? Sa­vor dark wit, fla­vor of ‘Sto­ries’

The Commercial Appeal - Go Memphis - - Stage - By Jon W. Sparks

Spe­cial to The Com­mer­cial Ap­peal

The de­li­ciously dark “Gorey Sto­ries” at Ger­man­town Com­mu­nity The­atre is a wel­come break from the rou­tine fright-fests of the sea­son.

One can only take so many “Hal­loween” films or “Saw” se­quels or zom­bie blowouts. One’s brain — if it hasn’t be­come a del­i­cacy for the un­dead — needs some wicked wit, sin­is­ter songs and vil­lain­ous verse.

Ja­son Spitzer’s di­rec­tion of “Gorey Sto­ries” is a high-en­ergy spin on the amus­ingly macabre works of il­lus­tra­tor and writer Ed­ward Gorey, who liked to re­fer to his work as “lit­er­ary non­sense.”

From the open­ing light­ning flash that re­veals the mis­chievous cast, we de­scend into a se­ries of sketches that sus­tain us with dark whimsy, a ter­rific cast (each mem­ber tak­ing on var­i­ous roles) and beau­ti­fully creepy mu­sic.

The set il­lus­tra­tion is a won­der. Done by graphic de­signer L.D. Beghtol, it evokes Gorey’s style and com­ple­ments the action.

In fact, the var­i­ous de­part­ments smartly com­bined to bring off the pro­duc­tion. Mu­sic di­rec­tor Ja­son Bell served up the tunes with pre­ci­sion, lighting de­signer Chris Swan­son il­lu­mi­nated the scenes per­fectly and the re­li­able Kerry Strahm han­dled tech­ni­cal di­rec­tion with his usual at­ten­tion to de­tail.

Cos­tumer Caro­line Redfearn nailed the Vic­to­rian/Ed­war­dian fla­vor of Gorey­world and chore­og­ra­pher Mandy Lane did splen­did work keep­ing up to nine cast mem­bers spin­ning on the tiny GCT stage.

You may well find your­self leav­ing the the­ater with a spring in your step and just ex­actly the right amount of dread in your heart.

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