The Rage of the Stage Players production, filled with blood curdling screams and gritty violence, was way more terrifying than any horror film, and we loved it.
Based on the Butcher Brothers’ film of the same name, “The Hamiltons” intimately followed the exploits of a band of misfit orphan vampires just “trying to be an ordinary family.” As you can imagine, they fail miserably, and the members of this dysfunctional household end up creating all kinds of chaos in their community, engaging in blood baths, acts of torture and plenty of dirty, steamy sex (yes, ghouls, there was even nudity).
Reinforcing this juicy storyline, both the quality of the actors, and the behind-the-scenes direction by James Michael Shoberg that sparked the synergy between them, was excellent. From Jon Wolf who played the family’s black sheep, Francis Hamilton, and his geeky, yet bloodthirsty older brother David, the role of Harry Roth, to the incredibly twisted and sexy Goth vamp Darlene, portrayed by Samantha Kelley,and her excruciatingly volatile twin brother Wendell, expertly played by Vincent Anthony Bombara, each of the leads were fully engaged and believable – so much so that if we ever see them on the street, we’ll be sure to proceed with caution.
Of equal caliber as the principal players were the supporting actors and actresses, including Carrie Shoberg, who opened the play as a brutalized victim with a very healthy set of lungs; Deborah College, who played Darlene’s ill-fated “project” Kitty; Joseph Roots, who provided much-needed comic relief in his role as the family’s social worker; and, last but not least, the soulful Adrienne Fischer who, as Samantha Teal, dutifully served as a blood donor most of the night.
Also impressive was the set design and the way that The Rage of the Stage Players were able to a lot with what we assume was a limited budget. The Hamiltons’ house, while meticulously maintained by David, was just a little bit off with its creepily ordinary lacey curtains and silk flowers that young people living alone would probably never choose for their décor. In the far corners were a bedroom used by the younger siblings — the setting of several unsavory scenes in the case of Darlene and Wendell — and a torture chamber complete with a butcher table and the boarded up lair of the most mysterious family member, Lenny. The frequent scene changes, with additional props carried on and off stage in the dark, also kept the show varied and exciting. And finally, not be outdone, the special effects were pretty impressive, too – with no shortage of gushing blood, oozing wounds and other assorted gore.
Regrettably, we were only able to attend one of the last performances of this captivating show and weren’t able to promote the hell out of it during the full run. But the light at the end of the tunnel is that, while the Hamiltons have moved on, The Rage of the Stage Players aren’t going anywhere, and will hopefully be back with a new distraction for us soon. And, with their mission to “present original works of an alternative nature (black comedy, fantasy, horror, etc.) to a more mature audience, or to put forth established works, in an innovative way,” we can surely expect whatever it is to be dark, disturbing, or, at the very least, extremely weird.