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Ben Dela Crème’s Beware the Terror of Gaylord Manor

Ben Dela Crème’s Beware the Terror of Gaylord Manor

Ben Dela Crème’s Beware the Terror of Gaylord Manor
October 14
07:39 2018

By Aaron Field

Ben Dela Crème’s Beware the Terror of Gaylord Manor is a spooky tale of a ditzy blond that stumbles in a strange house of horror and mystery where nothing is as it seems.  The house is filled with all manner of fabulous monsters, because why be an ordinary monster when you can be a Can Can dancing skeleton (Am I right)? The story is filled with twists, turns, a few surprises, and more campy humor than you can shake a hot dog at (seriously, towards the end of the first act it felt like I had forgotten my sleeping bag).  It was a show that I would see again and again, not just because I enjoyed it so much, but because there was just so much to take in. There were sexy performers, incredible set designs, witty dialogue, strong horror references, and one heck of a good time. Ben absolutely gave it his all when he wrote the show.

My first shout out of the night goes to all of the theater staff who were impossibly kind the entire time.  They honestly made the night just as enjoyable as the performers did. The ACT Theater is also one of my favorite venues in Seattle.  I had never been in this particular room of the Theater before and upon entering I thought to myself “where are they going to perform?”  The answer was all around us. They had two stages on either side of the room and the tables were situated between them. The performers had to cross the through the audience to get to each stage and the whole thing felt so immersive.  They used the space to their advantage as it really added to the story.

The set design was also quite amazing.  You could just tell how much they toiled over every detail.   The music itself was also fantastic and it shaped the performance spectacularly.  Actually, the sound in general in this theater was really good, from sound effects to music. Speaking of attention to detail, props to the costume designer on this production because they did such a wonderful job.  The actor’s garb (or lack thereof in some cases) was an absolute treat to see.

Now onto the performers, who were all amazing by the way.  The first thespian that we see in this production was Major Scales, who instantly struck me as a mixture of Dracula and Sweet Transvestite.  He was or gracious host for the evening and so so funny. Not soon after, Ben Dela Crème made her first appearance. In a tan overcoat, she was much more moderately dressed than I am used to seeing her, but somehow no less striking.  I admittedly had my first case of being star struck. I saw Ben Before in a different production, but the intimate nature of the theater meant that you were up close and personal to the performance the entire night and I couldn’t help but be in awe.  Even with her modest outerwear and her first few timid lines, Ben was electrifying and it only got so much better from there.

We are next introduced to Mandy Price’s character, a professor and paranormal researcher that would spend the rest of the night enriching the laughter with a wonderful amount of dry humor.  When so much of the comedy would come from raucous over the top hilarity, Mandy added a much-needed sense of wit that combined perfectly. Joining the professor was his fabulous wife, an in-tune, over the top queen played by Scott Shoemaker.  I absolutely loved everyone in this ensemble, but more than once I found Scott stealing show. His interactions with all of the characters made everyone else much funnier, not to mention just how funny his was by himself. I will always love an overly dramatic and non-apologetic performance from a dynamic performer in drag and Scott delivered this in spades.

The main actors were absolutely amazing, but the night wouldn’t have been nearly as special without the supporting characters and dancers that were on point the entire time.  The Cratchit sisters, played by the incredible Chloe Albin, Randy Ford, and Moscato Extatique, who turned out to be way more than just the caretakers of the house, spelled the audience through their dance.  The Baron’s rather wild roommate who would later give us a glimpse of his “full moon”. Also, Inge Beresford, who was positively entrancing. We didn’t get to see much of her… well I should rephrase that. We saw a lot of her, just not for a long time.  Not to mention the rest of the spooky monsters that danced through the walls and chilled our bones. They were all spellbinding and made sure the night was a feast for the eyes.

Beware the Terror of Gaylord Manor is one of those shows that you need to see to really get and I couldn’t help but sense that there was always something more floating above the dialogue that I needed to pay attention to in order to catch.  I could see the show a thousand times and still find a reference, a joke, or an act that I didn’t notice the time before. The good thing is that you don’t need to experience every layer at every second to have a good time. Even at face value you are sure to be delighted, laugh your ass off, and leave wanting to come back for more.

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