Steve Daly
March 28, 2005 AT 05:00 AM EST

Shockheaded Peter

type
Stage
Current Status
In Season
run date
02/22/05
performer
Julian Bleach, Anthony Cairns
director
Julian Crouch, Phelim McDermott
author
Julian Bleach, Anthony Cairns, Graeme Gilmour, Tamzin Griffin, Jo Pocock

We gave it a B+

If the Cryptkeeper from those old EC horror comics staged a surreal cautionary tale for kiddies, he’d craft something like this British import. In a scaled-down, red-curtained proscenium redolent of David Lynch, René Magritte, and Victorian penny dreadfuls, a cadaverous emcee (Julian Bleach) and a mournful accordionist (Martyn Jacques) tell of a heedless thumbsucker whose thumbs get snipped off with scissors, a willful girl done in by nascent pyromania, and other unfortunates. The wheezing, singsong musical numbers grow monotonous at length, but there’s lots of wicked, witty stagecraft to be savored. Nightmare-prone youngsters, beware.

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