Carpenters Halloween returns
For the third year, Carpenters Halloween delights in the giddy teen thrill of watching a slasher flick: Freshly pubescent characters explore their newfound sexuality and get rewarded for it with a knife in the chest. Except here the venue isn’t your bf’s house while the 'rents are away, but Mary’s Attic, above Hamburger Mary’s in Andersonville. I caught the press opening on Wednesday 14.
From Scooty & JoJo (i.e., Scott Bradley and Jonny Stax), the one-hour Carpenters Halloween works on conceit alone: a live staging of John Carpenter’s 1978 fright fest Halloween set to Carpenter tunes. That’s clever stroke No. 1. As audience members huddle around Mary’s tiny stage, the bar's TVs play the film’s opening segment: The camera-as-young-Michael approaches the house where he dispatches his first victim—to the three-piece band’s soothing tones of “We’ve Only Just Begun.”
Clever stroke No. 2: just the right mix of campy cross-gender casting. A deadpan Bradley as Jamie Lee Curtis as Laurie Strode saunters around with '70s-teen sass, flipping his Fawcett-era ’do. Clever stroke No. 3: All the adult figures are played by puppets. Spit and tape hold this happily slapdash endeavor together (the actors establish different locales by spinning some flimsy-looking flats, which look like they'll topple over at any second).
Two caveats: First, the laugh factor depends a good deal on your familiarity with the original film; it’d be a funnier (and funner) evening with more stand-alone humor. Second, arrive early: Last year I saw this fringe hit from the back of the crowded bar and didn’t enjoy it half as much as I did from a seat up front. And, of course, an early arrival means more time to imbibe: You’ll want to get your camp buzz on by show time.