SEATTLE REVIEW: BenDeLaCreme Brings Halloween Hilarity With BEWARE THE TERROR AT GAYLORD MANOR

Published on November 13, 2017 by   ·   No Comments

On my last trip to Seattle, I was tickled to see that not only was Ben DeLaCreme doing a new show (I had seen her Inferno-A-Go-Go on one of my previous trips and it was spectacular!) but that it was being held in one of my favorite places in Seattle, the ACT Theatre just down the street from my hotel.  I always try to catch at least one show at the ACT when I’m in town, and on this trip I was going to be lucky enough to catch two: a new and timely production of Arthur Miller’s The Crucible (review coming soon!) and Ben DeLaCreme’s Beware the Terror at Gaylord Manor.  While the previous show I had seen was a “one-queen show,” this was more of a cabaret style and featured a number of other dancers, singers, and burlesque beauties serving up all kinds of campy, Halloween shenanigans!

BDLC 04The show pays homage to a lot of classic horror but most closely follows the classic ghost story, The Haunting.  DeLaCreme plays Patsy Jejune, a stranded motorist who happens upon Gaylord Manor the same night as possibly-lesbian-leaning psychic Leonora Dottington (Scott Shoemaker) and her infuriatingly obtuse research partner and resident skeptic Dr. Dudley Doddington (Mandy Price) have come to the manor to study its history of terror and death.  Their host is the flamboyant Count Baron von Gaylord (played hilariously by Major Scales), who under the advice of Mother (a puppet run by Sann Hall and voiced by DeLaCreme) is supposed to be attempting to murder and maim his hapless guests to maintain the Gaylord reputation, but often finds himself distracted by sexy werewolf Lunk (Faggedy Randy) instead.  He calls up a number of ghostly minions to help him destroy the young travelers, including a couple of mummies (Elby Brosch and the One and Only Inga) and the three sinister housekeepers all named Mrs. Crachick (Randy Ford, Chloe Albin, and Moscato Extatique), but his carnal obsessions may be his undoing…and Patsy may not be the innocent ingenue she first appears to be!

BDLC 01The show was a lot of fun, with the action evenly divided between a grand staircase serving as the entrance hall on one side of the room, and a raised stage done up like a somber bed chamber on the other side.  I didn’t do a great job of selecting my seat; while I had a pretty good view of the bedroom scene, anything that happened right at the base of the stairs was obscured by a large pillar.  Luckily, the cast did a great job of moving and filling the space, so even if I missed some of the reveals (including Faggedy Randy’s striptease from dopey lumberjack to sexy werewolf!) it wasn’t too long before I had the chance to see what all of the fuss was about.

This show was a lot of fun, and while it didn’t have the same emotional range as Inferno-A-Go-Go (I still get a little chocked up when I think about the Harpy’s monologue in the garden of the suicides in Dante’s 6th level of hell) you got the chance to see a range of different performers doing what they did best.  The burlesque performances were top notch and offered some variety: while Faggedy Randy’s wolfman was much more obviously sexual and animalistic, the One and Only Inga had a moment as a vampire in a glittering gown and fringed underthings that had a delicious vintage feel and lots of jiggle and tease.  The dancers also had the opportunity to show of their impressive skills during a number of sequences, most notably wearing white sheets and black leggings with the stage bathed in blacklight and colorful LED lighting, giving their costumes the illusion of floating and twirling in the air on their own, and a fun and impeccably choreographed skeleton dance in Patsy’s bedroom – who knew the skeletons in her closet had so much talent?!

BDLC 03If you’re ever Seattle bound or happen to run into a Ben DeLaCreme show wherever you are, I definitely recommend you give it a go – she’s one of the more theatrical queens in the history of RuPaul’s Drag Race and after having seen two of her shows I can tell you that she is the real deal: she really understands how to craft a solid, entertaining show whether performing alone with her puppets and video screens or wrangling together a group of extremely talented performers to produce a consistent ensemble show.  Now that she is confirmed to be bringing her style of drag back to the small screen for season 3 of Drag Race All Stars, it will be interesting to see what she has in store for that competition.  If she can harness all of the charisma, uniqueness, nerve, and talent of her own productions, then she definitely has one sultry, panty-hosed leg up on the competition!

And if Faggedy Randy is looking for a way to fill his time now that the show has closed….well, I always have lots of ideas!

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