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Review: ‘Thing of Evil: Fantastic Tales of Terror’ at the Painted Bride Art Center

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Long-time collaborators Phoebe Schaub and Emily R. Johnson, known to Philadelphia audiences for their haunting and transportive style as former members of Found Theater Company, have teamed up again as Co-Creators of Thing of Evil: Fantastic Tales of Terror – a spooky two-part series of Halloween-time treats performed every Tuesday in October at the Painted Bride Art Center. The selection of macabre classics alternates weekly, and then culminates on Halloween night with a one-time presentation of both blood-curdling shows that is guaranteed to raise your hair and to chill your spine.

Phoebe Schaub. Photo by April Rose Davis.

Phoebe Schaub. Photo by April Rose Davis.

Emily R. Johnson. Photo by Harish Pathak.

Emily R. Johnson. Photo by Harish Pathak.

Before inviting the audience into the theater, hosts Schaub and Johnson set the creepy mood of the evening with some unsettling pre-show conversation and instructions. The eeriness escalates once we’re taken inside. Presented in the format of a mixed-media radio play, Thing of Evil is not your usual vintage-style studio performance with Foley sound and actors delivering their lines into old-fashioned microphones. It’s a post-modern update, using the latest advances in digital equipment and sound, which offers a more direct individual experience, resulting in a heightened personal response.

Along with the lead artists, a talented team of imaginative designers and disquieting performers, including some of their past colleagues from Found – Adrienne Hertler, Alison Mae Hoban, Amanda Jill Robinson, Amy Frear, April Rose Davis, Joe Palinsky, Kyle Jackson, Sean Lally, and Tommy Butler – creates a scary and sinister tone, evoking a nightmarish sensibility through startling stories, impenetrable lighting, and alarming apparitions that will keep you on the edge of your seat, in dread anticipation of what could come next.

If you love Halloween and all the fabulous faux frights associated with it, be sure to reserve your free tickets now for the terrifically terrifying Thing of Evil – or you just might live to regret it . . .

Running Time: Approximately 35 minutes (for each Part), without intermission.

Thing of Evil: Fantastic Tales of Terror plays through Tuesday, October 31, 2017, at the Painted Bride Art Center – 230 Vine Street, Philadelphia, PA. For free tickets, call (215) 925-9914, or reserve them online.

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