This year’s gruesome offering from the fabulous folks at the LA Horror Stories is “Four Crimes.”
Set in England’s infamous Newgate Prison in 1928 we are privy to a very special selection of the most revolting and despicable of the prison’s inmates. Four criminals whose vile journeys to this place are the subject of the play's four acts. All lovingly introduced to us by Newgate’s own warden supreme, a towering and terrifying fortress of a woman who brings out her four worst prisoners for our amusement. But she has her own agenda, for us to listen to their sordid, dreadful tales and then judge who is amongst them the most evil and therefore who will be her new executioner.
They are all horrid of course. Mass murderers with histories as different and varied as any of us…if not a little more bloody than most.
The Gentleman who woos his prey and kills them with not the slightest of conscience…The Deug who fulfilled his terrible destiny at the whim of a neglectful mother. The Manthis who’s cruel parents forged her murderous mind and The Dutiful Wife, whose husband has no idea his partner in crime is not at all the coy lady he supposed.
All these plays are quite brilliant, bloody and frighteningly well written and performed. The large and wonderful cast is fully committed to these fascinating and cleverly staged historical dramas. They live in these sad and violent worlds, they scuttle in the darkness and the characters they play, each in their own way, embody the wickedest and most depraved the human soul could become.
How malevolent can any man or women really be? Where does the fault of the fractured mind of the most nefarious among us lie? Can we become something less than human or are we born that way, finding our path to turpitude whether mistreated by life or given every advantage?
These are questions criminologists and psychologists and even men of god have been asking for millennia since Adam took the fruit and we all began believing in evil. But those that find peace in death and destruction will always fascinate and bemuse us. At this time of year particularly we all fetishize horror and when horror is presented in such thoughtful and creative ways as does the LA Horror Story it’s easily excused.
This is a bloody and violent show, but there is a kind of deep poetry to it. What is terrifying is what is possible. All these tales producing all these monsters have reason at their core. Terrible reason to be sure, but not at all easily dismissed. Real horror like this is always human and when it’s so beautifully and carefully and darkly told as this is, it is very hard to resist.
Bring someone with you that you don’t mind clutching wildly at in terror…and if you sit in the front two rows you might want to bring a raincoat…
"LA Horror, Four Crimes" is truly, horribly excellent!!!
Running from October 12 - October 28, Friday and Saturday at 8pm, Sundays at 5pm.
The Sherry Theatre, 11052 W Magnolia Blvd, North Hollywood, CA 91601
April Littlejohn, A.J. Warden, Amanda Talamantez, Jason Galindo, Josh Hedeya, Steve Fite, Kirstie McHugh, Laura Boccaletti, Nicole A. Craig, Matt Green, Jonathan Guerra, Heather Boothby, Brendan Lynch, Rommel Rojas, Dakota West, Catherine Alexis Smith, Dylan Bainter
Karla Davis - Assistant Director/Stage Manager
Stefan Adkins - Technical Director
Hannah Jarvis - Choreographer
Steve Fite - Fight Captain
April Littlejohn - Costume Designer
Wynn Zucchero - Lighting