Capital City Theatre’s latest, "Shining in Misery," is a hysterical paean to the Master of Horror.
It’s been said that the line between horror and comedy is razor thin, but it’s a lot less difficult to navigate it you just embrace the chaos and ignore it completely. That’s the key to the rollicking success of “Shining in Misery: A King-Sized Parody,” Capital City Theatre’s uproarious musical skewering the Master of Horror — and a hell of a lot more besides.
You can’t successfully send something up if you don’t know it and love it, and it’s clear that writers Mark-Eugene Garcia and Colleen Duvall, as well as composer and Cap City Artistic Director Andrew Abrams have been steeping in King’s particular brand of horror for decades. This show has more clever puns than “It” and “The Stand" have pages, and almost all of them land directly on your bag of (funny) bones.
Late in the extraordinarily entertaining, two-plus hour laugh fest Shining in Misery – the just-opened Capital City Theatre entry in the World Premiere Wisconsin festival – its evil genius makes clear just how dire things are for the poor souls trying to escape. “My best ghouls are just over there,” he crows with glee.
We can only see one such ghoul, but no matter. When reading Stephen King – or, in the case of Shining in Misery, watching a parody of Stephen King – the underland we’re afraid to see is always teeming with vampires and ghosts, demonic clowns and monstrous pets, the beasts we fear we are and the terrors that keep us awake.
“There’s more of them,” the devilish Randall Flagg says of his ghouls. “I can’t bring them over here because of limits of actors and costuming but trust me when I say, they’re there.”
Shining in Misery, a production of Capital City Theatre directed and choreographed by Donald Garverick, is part of World Premier Wisconsin, a festival of local professional shows. It bodes well for other shows in the festival.
The show begins with the Torrance family from The Shining, Stephen King/Stanley Kubrick's enduring tale of a haunted Overlook Hotel, checking in to the apparently deserted hotel. They are to look after it over the winter. There are Jack, the father (Jonathan Wagner); mother Wendy (Madeline Glenn Thomas); son Danny (Benji Heying); and Nanny Annie (Gail Becker).This musical is so over the top it hurts. The top line is that the family take in the burned-out novelist kidnapped in Misery, King's tale (and Rob Reiner-directed film) of a writer kidnapped by his biggest fan. He (Cody Gerszewski) inhabits Room 217, where Nanny Annie keeps him captive so she can get him to write a new novel in his "Misery" series, which he has abandoned in favor of a new idea, one that doesn't include Annie's favorite character. (He also plays the vampire Barlow, with a pasted-on face and lovely prosthetic fingers.)
Writer/Actor/Storyteller. Theatre Maker. Husband. Bad Hombre. Cat Taunter.