The stage is washed in a blood red light as the audience files in, as ‘Killing Horrors,’ – written and co-directed by Kas Schroeder – stepped out into the spotlight for the first time on Sunday the 2nd of March.
The story starts in the small town of Crystal Lakes, Washington State, where the strange and disturbing murder of Charlotte (Mabry Sansbury) has taken place. Aasani (Sarah Crawford) and Naomi (Caitlin Snook), the detectives of Crystal Lakes, quickly grow suspicious of the newcomer, Geoffrey (Nathan Cuttica) who discovered Charlotte’s body on a normal walk in the park. The station’s photographer (Jack Bradley) is less quick to judge the newcomer, despite the large, peculiar book Geoffrey carries and his refusal to speak about it. After some flirtatious persuasion, Charlie and Kent (both the same person) discover the book is about a local cult with evil dealings, which only makes Naomi and Aasani more suspicious.
As the mystery continues, we meet more of the characters all of whom seem perfectly pleasant, if not a tad odd. Chief among this collection of the charming residents is Delilah (Maia Rokovic) who owns the diner, her husband, Bill (Ollie Leach) who had made a miraculous recovery from an illness. The Myers (Mabry Sansbury, Vijiamas Rakauskas) also dwell there, who seem wary of strangers claiming that no one born in Crystal Lakes could possibly hope to fit in there.
The case is broken wide open when Mr Burke (Vijiamas Rakauskas) hears strange sounds coming from the abandoned house next door. After investigating the scene, the team discover that the case is much darker than they could have possibly imagined.
As the plot unfolds, the audience (leaning forwards in their seats) learn that Crystal Lakes has been built on the stomping ground of an evil god who had, until recently, been imprisoned in a tree by a good divine entity. Desperate to revive her husband from his illness, Delilah had freed the god and has been host to him ever since.
All but Aasani fully commit to this explanation of Charlotte’s murder, which makes her the perfect candidate to rid the evil god from Crystal Lakes once and for all. After a brief conversation with the better yet intimidating god, Aasani ends the evil god’s reign of bloodshed and murder.
And all seems well.
Just when the mystery seems solved and the quaint town of Crystal Lakes safe again, the plot twists violently once more, as it is unveiled that the three main characters (Naomi, Aasani and Charlie/Kent) have been working for the evil god all along, biding their time until Geoffrey let his defences down and surrendered the book into Charlie/ Kent’s charge. The piece ends with the message that one can never truly kill one’s horrors, only succumb to them.
The play is ninety-minutes of twists and turns. Starting off in a normal town with a fairly normal, if devastating, murder, the mystery quickly gains momentums and turns from a crime into a horror.
The play was well-directed (Kaz Schroeder, Nicholas Raiken) and the lighting simple, but effective (Will Jamieson, Noemie Jouas), especially when the two gods speak to the trembling mortals below. It was a thoroughly enjoyable piece, creatively written and at home in the American crime genre.
It was a real shame, however, that the set changes left the audience in dark and silence for too long too often, especially when a particular scene was short. It broke up the rhythm of the play, which was otherwise enjoyable.
‘Killing Horrors’ is a product of two years of work (said Schroeder at the beginning) which, in my opinion, was two years well spent.