Horror, humour & headless royals

Vogt gets Buried explores the world of classic horror stories and the angry wives of Henry VIII

Samantha Wymes plays Catherine Howard in Catherine Anne Jane Anne Catherine Catherine, one of four plays in the Vogt B production.
Samantha Wymes plays Catherine Howard in Catherine Anne Jane Anne Catherine Catherine, one of four plays in the Vogt B production.

This week, Vogt gets spooky.

Vogt gets Buried is the second instalment of the annual three-part Vogt series. But Vogt B features a vastly different feel from the provocative comedies of November’s Vogt, got funny, A.

“It’s different from past Vogt shows because — it’s a tonal thing,” finance producer Alyssa LeClair said of the new series of one-act plays Classic Horror Movie Mistakes, Malignant, Achilles and Catherine Anne Jane Anne Catherine Catherine.

“It’s not that the [one-act] shows necessarily have anything in common,” publicity producer Rebecca Flynn said. “It’s just that they all have this creepy feel that really makes an impact.”

The stage and lighting crews manage to create the creepy feel and unify the four plays through their use of ambitious, albeit less-conventional techniques. With strobe lights, stages drenched in blood-red beams and a fog machine, the atmosphere is eerie from the moment you take your seat.

“We’ve had the opportunity to use a lot of special effects that aren’t often seen in theatre,” said co-lighting designer Karli Feldman. “It’s given us a very diverse scope of tools to use.”

The night starts off with Classic Horror Movie Mistakes written by Laura McLean and directed by Vince Ricci, Patrick Downes and Kyle Holleran. It’s the perfect start to the evening, setting the tone while allowing audiences to ease into the haunting scene.

“It’s mocking B-list horror flicks,” Ricci said. “It’s a Vogt B-list horror flick.”

Fans of horror and satire will quickly adapt to Classic Horror Movie Mistakes’ quirky take on the quintessential scary movie. The chemistry between the cast is obvious, which helps ground the over-the-top style of humour.

Sharply contrasting in tone and style is Malignant, a silent piece choreographed and directed by Lauren De Vries. The play is visceral — the set’s minimalism allows spectators to infer both physical and psychological boundaries for the characters. While the lines between real and hallucinatory are often blurred, the performance of the ensemble is strong enough to make up for any confusion. Viewers should expect to leave their comfort zones behind.

Achilles, written by Alanna Ryan and co-directed by Joey Graff, is a lighter comedy with a twist on the classic will-they–or-won’t-they romance. The show manages to avoid stereotypical relationship paradigms using a ghoulish twist and witty repartee.

A supernatural dark comedy with heart, this show blends a broad range of genres into something unique. The performances of actors Tia McGregor and Sia Badie bring life to a show literally shrouded in death.

Catherine Anne Jane Anne Catherine Catherine is as much a treat as it is a mouthful to say. A historical satire about the wives of King Henry VIII, the play manages to transcend its era with a Mean Girls-esque tone. The cast is strong both individually and as an ensemble, a difficult feat given the diversity of the characters — from the seductive Anne Boleyn (played by Jessica Mosher) to the frigidly composed Jane Seymour (played by Mairi McAuley) to the dim-witted, Shnitzel-loving Anne of Cleves (played by Mary Collier).

Co-directors Dylan On and Rebecca Moran promise laughs.

This is not a show for passive audiences — Vogt Gets Buried demands a reaction from viewers.

Vogt gets Buried plays until Saturday with shows at 6 and 8:30 p.m in Vogt Studios.

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