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Babyshower for the Antichrist

a Comedy
CATEGORY : COMEDY
by Ben Thorpe

COMPANY : Essential Theatre [WEBSITE]
VENUE : West End Performing Arts Center [WEBSITE]
ID# 5547

SHOWING : August 02, 2019 - August 25, 2019

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PRODUCTION DESCRIPTION

A horror comedy about a small group of incompetent devil-worshippers who are preparing for the birth of the Dark Lord when an newcomer arrives, thinking she’s been invited to an old friend’s baby shower. Girl talk and plans for the “Hell Feast” lead to secrets coming out and a struggle for power, with surprising results. Plus, there’s a talking goat … so that’s pretty cool.

Advisory: This play contains moments of blood and violence.


CAST & CREW LIST
Director Shannon Eubanks
Dee Gina Rickicki
Reba Suzanne Roush
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REVIEWS

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Eveningside
by playgoer
Wednesday, August 21, 2019
3.0
First there was local playwright Topher Payne’s "Morningside," about a baby shower in a dysfunctional Atlanta community. Now there’s local playwright Ben Thorpe’s "Babyshower for the Antichrist," about a quite different baby shower. It acts more as an extended skit than a full-fledged play. The title pretty much gives the joke away.

Gabrielle Stephenson’s scenic design for the show is lovely, showing a lakeside cottage with wood and leather furniture, stone fireplace stage left and a stone-based bookcase stage right. The wood floor and four columns featured in "Slaying Holofernes" are here too, with the columns in fixed positions. The white fabric backdrop here has only the muted shadow of a Palladian window, which does not alter as the action moves from day to night. Otherwise, Harley Gould’s lighting design is full of special effects, many in conjunction with the sound design by Kacie Willis. Pre-show music is a kooky mix of baby- and devil-related songs. Kathy Manning’s props and Alexia Mooney’s costumes add to the visual appeal of the production.

The cast consists primarily of four devil-worshippers, one of whom is pregnant. To the babyshower/consecration of the baby to the Dark Lord, a former friend of the pregnant woman has been invited. The interactions between the pregnant woman and her friend are the low spots of the show. There’s conflict in their past concerning a man, and the glib way it’s handled is in stark contrast to the nuanced handling of similar situations in the script of "Slaying Holofernes."

The interactions of the three principal devil-worshippers provide all the highlights of the show. Suzanne Roush is appropriately assertive as the leader. Gina Rickicki is a marvelously expressive underling with underlying longings, and Taylor Bahin is a delightfully wacky, spaced-out devil-worshipper cadet. The comedy among these three charms throughout. Madison Welch is also quite good as friend Julie, but Sarina Montgomery is pretty much a cipher as pregnant Monica.

Director Shannon Eubanks has done a fine job of blocking the show and inspiring her cast to create comic moments whenever possible. The production falters only when the script does. The initial situation is funny; the plot, on the other hand, is not very engaging. The show provides an opportunity for the comic stylings of Gina Rickicki and Taylor Bahin to shine, but doesn’t offer much else.
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