Hickville Love and Horror, a series of horror/comedy short plays, has started a two week run at Cedar Performing Arts in Lancaster. We first discovered them last October when they held a two night interactive haunted house. Hickville is more of a traditional theatrical performance than an interactive one, but still mixes memorable horror staples with comedy to result in an enjoyable experience.
The evening is hosted by Troy Hencely as Vincent Van Ghoul and his stage ghouls. Cedar Performing Arts is a small black box theatre and there’s no curtain to close between set changes, so instead of stagehands unceremoniously changing out the set pieces, they’re put in costume as Vincent’s stage ghouls to swap backgrounds and props between each play. There are six in total, running about 2 hours with intermission. I won’t spoil anything, as several of the plays do have truly unexpected and surprising plot twists.
First is When Erin Met Sally, a dialog between archeologists, who’ve just uncovered Pandora’s box in some Greek ruins, whether the box truly contains hope, or something far more sinister, you’ll have to discover for yourself. The New Deal is a bloody tale of murder, vampires, and Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Following that is the other quintessential supernatural being, the werewolf, in A Hunting We Will Go. But is the mythical werewolf real, or is one family’s paranoia about it the real danger? You’ll have to wait and see.
Survivor Girl is another with a twist ending that just might surprise you. Near a secluded getaway spot for young lovers is the grave of the knife wielding Peggy Sue, but is a killer risen from the grave more a danger to the young couple than each other? Bloody Mary sees a couple driving home in a car, scaring each other with the prospect of saying the titular Mary’s name three times, only to find their game has more real consequences than they though, but they soon find that Mary isn’t quite who they thought she would be. The evening concludes with The Crystal of Poho County, a macabre tale of necromancy, zombies, and high school reunions. In one particularly memory moment of the show, the climactic battle between the necromancer and his creation is provided with sound effects by the revelers of the reunion.
Each of Hickville’s plays manages to mix lighter comedic moments into the overall suspenseful tone of the stories, resulting in an evening reminiscent of the old Tales from the Crypt television show. Similar to CPA’s Haunted Manor Tour, these plays make up for in heart what they lack in budget. By way of example, opening night had a few hiccups with sound effects, and the cast incorporated the mistakes into the performance seamlessly.
Hickville runs from February 14th-17th and 22nd-23rd at 7pm in Lancaster CA. For tickets call 661-917-9135