Review: It’s A-Scary! The Gray Man and The Pumpkin Pie Show: Labor Pains

The Gray Man Promo Photo credit Suzi SadlerI officially kicked off my new theatre season, Halloween. T’is the season to get all creepy with these two amazingly well-written and contrasting plays.

I was super excited to finally see a Pipeline production as I’ve been following them for years. And they didn’t disappoint. Andrew Farmer’s The Gray Man tells a story of a bogeyman, a ghost or a figment of someone’s imagination. Set in the round, Andrew Neisler directs this emotionally disturbing piece by employing a sensory experience that sufficiently creeped out the audience. The use of disembodied voices and movement in darkness traps us in the story. We are not sure where to look or just keep our eyes shut and listen as if being told a nightmarish bedtime  story.  The creative team and stellar ensemble supported the narrative and each other as they weaved in and out of scenes. And nothing is scarier than a little girl in a scary story because nothing good usually comes out of it. I loved the use of the theatre space as well as varying levels. The one set piece at the middle of the space brilliantly represented the interior of a home. However, there were many moments when actors were out of sight or the set couldn’t be totally seen due to being stable for the whole show.

pumpkin_V2_300_123On the other end of the spectrum, is The Pumpkin Pie Show – Labor Pains which features five short stories told through absurd and fantastically comedic monologues. Clay McLeod Chapman, storyteller, is soon to be a daddy (true story) and shares the woes and fears and neuroses of being a parent. What if you are not the baby daddy? What happens if the oracular predictions your baby is making suddenly stop? Who is that random lady at the playground? Is that baby a terrorist? And what would a Mama Bird do for her baby chick? The fast-paced, quick witted, litany of words and emotions coming at the audience from Chapman and Cheek skyrocketed the audience to another dimension – a bizarro world – which is essentially parenthood.

Two fantastic shows. Be sure to get to a performance. My suggestion is to see both show back-to-back knowing you’ll need another hour to find your footing in reality.

See you at the show!

The Gray Man presented by Pipeline Theatre Company

Walker Space (46 Walker Street between Broadway and Church Street)

September 24-October 18,

Wednesday through Sunday at 8pm with additional performances on Saturday at 5pm and Tuesday, October 13 at 8pm.

Featuring Tahlia Ellie, Daniel Johnsen, Katharine Lorraine, Claire Rothrock, and Shane Zeigler. The production will include Lighting Design by Christopher Bowser, Costume Design by Daniel Dabdoub, and Scenic Design by Andy Yanni with an original score by Composers Mike Brun and Chris Ryan. Produced by Natalie Gershtein with Production Manager Joshua Shain and Stage Manager Kristy Bodall.

Visit www.pipelinetheatre.org for more info.

The Pumpkin Pie Show: Labor Pains, presented by FRIGID New York @ Horse Trade 

UNDER St. Marks (94 St. Marks Place between 1st Avenue and Avenue A)

September 24-October 10, Thursday through Saturday at 8pm

Featuring Hanna Cheek and Clay McLeod Chapman.

Visit http://claymcleodchapman.com/performances/the-pumpkin-pie-show for more info.

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