Category Archive for: ‘Richard Connema’

A Bloody Good Production Production of Three “Shocktoberfest” plays.


Is it my imagination but was there more “blood” and “gore” spelled on the stage of the Hypnodrome in this year’s Shocktoberfest plays. I think so since appeared one hell of a lot of wonderful shocking Grand Guignol effects going on during “The Bride of Death” and “The Twisted Pair”.

Yes once again those crazy people at Thrillpeddlers are doing their thing for this season of outrageous effects to titillate the fans in their intimate theatre on 10th Street.  This company is one of the few Grand Guignol groups that present these types of plays in this country, maybe the only one.  I remember when I used to go to Paris in the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s I would go to Le Theatre du Grand-Guignol horror to get my fill of horror. Three of the evening’s shockers are the classic Grand Guignol Thriller “Coals of Death” and  two World Premiere One-Act plays “The Bride of Death” by Michael Phillis and “The Twisted Pair” by Rob Keefe. “Coals of Fire” was banned in Britain in 1922 for the play’s use of graphic violence and immoral subject matter. This 15 minute horror stars Leigh Crow as a blind elderly wife and Zelda Kozonofski as her young companion who is messing around with the old lady’s young husband.  What happens to the young companion shouldn’t happen to a dog.


Michael Phillis play is a 1940’s tale of a reporter (Michael Phillis) and photographer (Flynn DeMarco) sent to interview an ageing actress (Bonni Suval) about gossips that she will return to the big screen after years reinterpreting a famous role. Their visit becomes dreadful when the soft-spoken governess (Annie Larson) turns rebellious and events become a very bloody end.  Bonni Suval plays the role like Gloria Swanson with a little bit of Joan Crawford thrown in for a good measure.  Michael Phillis and Flynn DeMarco are excellent as the stylish reporter and photographer. Annie Larson is perfect as the governess. Also first rate in smaller roles are Zelda Koznofski, Nancy French, Dalton Goulette and Rory Davis.


Rob Keefe’s “The Twisted Pair” is about a poverty stricken American scientist who learns of Crick and Watson’s discovery of DNA in England.  McKenzie (Russell Blackwood) decides that “funding follows fame” and set out to be famous, no matter what the cost. As part of his research, he manipulates his colleague (Flynn DeMarco) to put on women’s clothing and pretending to be his fiancée. Don’t ask why since that is part of the fun. Of course things turn out to be a bloody mess as the end of this fast past horror film. Russell Blackwood hilariously over acts the role of the mad scientist while Flynn De Marco tries desperately to be someone in drag.  However both are delightfully sidesplitting.


There are two musical interludes the first one being an old English music hall number called “I’m a Mummy” by Douglas Byng performed in true English music hall fashion by Jim Jeske and Annie Larson. The second interlude reminds me of a Las Vegas longue act called “Those Beautiful Ghouls” with music and lyrics by Scrumbly Koldewyn and Steve Bolinger playing piano.   Leigh Crow certainly looks and sing like those Las Vegas singers who regularly appear on a longue stage in some of the casinos. Entertaining are Zelda Koznofski, Bonni Suvan, Michael Phillis, Andy Wenger, Dalton Goulette, Jim Jeske and Bruna Palmeiro in big and bold attire created by an amazingly capable costume crew headed by Alice Cunt.


Shocktoberfest 13 ends with all the lights going out and the audience sit in pitch darkness and watch ghosts and ghouls flying through the air. The horror fest continues through November 17th.  They perform on Thursdays, Friday and Saturdays at 8 pm at the Hypnodrome, 575 10th Street, San Francisco.  For tickets go to or phone 415-377-4202 or go to for more information.



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