Saturday, October 13, 2012

Review - "The Blood Brothers Present... Raw Feed"

By Byrne Harrison
Photo by Isaiah Tanenbaum

I know Pete Boisvert and Patrick Shearer, the actors who portray the Blood Brothers in Nosedive Productions' annual gore fest.  I see them at fundraisers and award ceremonies.  We chat about theatre and their upcoming shows.  I run into them at various Off-Off Broadway productions (the OOB community is closely knit, and slightly incestuous). 

The point is, I know them and they are both nice, friendly guys.

And yet, when I see them in their ghoulish Blood Brothers personas, they still freak me the hell out.

Shearer's brother is the intellectual type of killer.  Fond of a little Cryptkeeper humor.  Suave, but menacing.  Boisvert's brother is a thug.  Quiet and angry, he delights in the brutalities of life - blood, mangled limbs, screams.  Together, they are magic.  Bloody, brutal magic.

This year's production, "The Blood Brothers Present... Raw Feed," is full of the usual nasty, pulled-from-the-headlines stories and buckets of blood (thanks to the incomparable Stephanie Cox-Williams, who once again brings on the gore).  But this year, the Blood Brothers are having a bit of an existential crisis - in a world full of people who are willing to do horrible things to one another, is there really any place for a pair of chalk-faced, maniacal ghouls?

Spoiler: Of course there is.  And the way the Blood Brothers work it out, in a series of scenes written by playwright Mac Rogers, is fantastic.

"Raw Feed" features eight short plays (and, of course, Mac Rogers' framing play, also entitled "Raw Feed").  Most of the plays deal with some aspect of fame or the 24/7 plugged in lives that people tend to live today, where privacy is a thing of the past.

Mac Rogers' "Kittens in a Bag," is a story about a gay porn star, Luka (TJ Clark), who would do anything - and does - to get noticed on the web (in a rather inspired bit of theatre, the Internet is portrayed by Emily Hartford).  Whether it's killing kittens on video, or killing a young man, the result is the same in his eyes - more hits, more people talking about him.  Fame or infamy, it doesn't really matter in the end, as long as people know his name.

Jessi Gotta's short piece, "Kitty's Revenge," closes out the evening, and is a comic answer to Rogers play, showing Luka getting his comeuppance.  Brutal, but funny.

The most striking piece of the evening is Nat Cassidy's "TALHOTBLOND," with an internet obsession gone awry.  This dance piece with music is haunting, and the ensemble, Judy Merrick, Stephanie Willing, Gareth Declan and Collin McConnell are outstanding (Nat Cassidy, in full Blood Brother makeup, sings and plays guitar for the piece).  A departure from the typical Blood Brother play, I would love to see more of this in future productions.

Among the other outstanding short plays are James Comtois' look inside the mind of a serial killer (Lowell Byers) is "Bachelor Number One," a story based on a real killer who appeared on "The Dating Game" in the '70s, and Nat Cassidy's amazingly creepy "Joy Junction" featuring a cannibal pedophile (Roger Nasser) from a Christian children's TV show.  Nasser is terrific in this role, as is Stephanie Willing as his new puppet Marigold.  This play also shows of more of Stephanie Cox-Williams' work with some great bloody makeup effects.

Rounding out the show are "I Prefer Limes," about a very, very persistent stalker, "Dark Mirror," a disturbing short piece about rape, and "All of Me," the goriest of the plays.

"Raw Feed" delivers the promised gore, fear, and just enough reality to make you uneasy at the thought of another night alone in your apartment.  And you might want to think twice before picking up that phone never know who's watching.

"The Blood Brothers Present... Raw Feed"

"Raw Feed"
By Mac Rogers
Featuring: Pete Boisvert and Patrick Shearer

"I Prefer Limes"
By James Comtois
Directed by Pete Boisvert
Featuring: Leah Carrell (Woman), Gareth Declan (Voice), Alexis Thomason (Friend), Emily Hartford and Collin Mc Connell (Detectives), TJ Clark and Judy Merrick (Police)

"Bachelor Number One"
By James Comtois
Directed by Nat Cassidy
Featuring: C.L. Weatherstone (Host), Lowell Byers (Bachelor #1), TJ Clark (Bachelor #2), Roger Nasser (Bachelor #3), Alexis Thomason (Cheryl), Stephanie Willing (Talia), Leah Carrell (Julie)

By Nat Cassidy
Directed by Patrick Shearer with Stephanie Cox-Williams
Choreography by Stephanie Willing with Judy Merrick
Featuring: Judy Merrick (Mother), Stephanie Willing (Daughter), Gareth Declan (Lover), Collin McConnell (Friend)

"Kittens in a Bag"
By Mac Rogers
Directed by Patrick Shearer
Featuring: TJ Clark (Luka), Emily Hartford (The Internet), Collin McConnell (Neal), Gareth Declan (Carlo), Leah Carrell (Clerk)

"Dark Mirror"
By Danny Bowes
Directed by Pete Boisvert
Featuring: Alexis Thomason (Narrator), C.L. Weatherstone (Hooded Man), Judy Merrick (Old Woman)

"Joy Junction"
By Nat Cassidy
Directed by Pete Boisvert
Featuring: Roger Nasser (Ronald), Collin McConnell (Marty), Stephanie Willing (Marigold), Judy Merrick (Annabelle), Gareth Declan (Chooch)

"All of Me"
By Stephanie Cox-Williams
Directed by Patrick Shearer
Featuring: C.L. Weatherstone (Man), Leah Carrell (Woman), and TJ Clark, Gareth Declan, Emily Hartford, and Collin McConnell (Police)

"Kitty's Revenge"
By Jessi Gotta
Directed by Patrick Shearer
Featuring: TJ Clark (Luka), Roger Nasser (Puppy), Stephanie Willing (Bunny), Emily Hartford (Kitten)

The Brick
579 Metropolitan Avenue

Closes October 13th

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