nytheatre.com review by Maggie Cino
Theatre Run’s Horror Vacui is a wonderful bit of fun. Three
sisters run a hotel that hasn’t had a guest in a long, long time. Their
brother Charles, a poet, lives with them. Then one day a guest arrives,
and everything changes. The design elements are especially strong,
evoking Edward Gorey’s picture books. A few sheets, a frame, and a stool
are all the set elements they need to create the whole hotel, even
allowing for a complicated scene full of entrances and exits. The
costumes and makeup of the family are equally effective; the three
sisters and their brother have shadowy whitened faces and are dressed in
turn of the (20th) century outfits, giving them a stylized, antiquated
look that helps create the storybook atmosphere.
August 15, 2003
Horror Vacui has a tight, effective plot aided by fabulous theatrical effects. A car, an explosion, and a couple of other magical moments are beautifully rendered. The story itself is a simple one, allowing for conflict and mayhem to ensue as their one guest tries to wrest control of the beloved hotel. The program says this is a work in progress, and while the work is tight it does seems as if they have sketched out a strong structure and will soon fill in more antics and delightful devices.
The acting is solid throughout. The three sisters Von Vacui are especially enchanting, and their differences heighten their similarities. Charlotte, Maude, and Wilomeena (played respectively by Anne Sorce, Martine Eichenberger, and Molly Feingold) operate as a unit at all times, pointing, slouching, and flitting their way through their chores in the hotel. They breathe as one and draw you into their collective trials. Their guest Tallulah (Sophie Fletcher) seduces and horrifies the audience as well as the family, and brother Charles (Adam Paolozza) still charms while being a spineless creature who wrecks havoc by doing nothing but being his self-involved self.
In the end, Horror Vacui is a lovely situational farce, the kind that has gone out of fashion because few people know how to execute it properly. Theatre Run breathes fresh life and new blood into this classic form and offers an evening of real entertainment.