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Fangs, Blood, and Song

September 9, 2015

The_Red_Moon_560-74Bring your fangs, leathers, and blood; Zombie Joe’s Underground Theatre offers a sultry, shadowy, bloody, and humourous musical with The Red Moon (Directed by Denise Devin). The Red Moon is a love story, after a fashion; love being more than romantic love more often than naught.

The Red Moon reaches beyond the typical vampire story, and the typical musical. As a musical it comes very close to pushing into the realm of Rock Operas, the lyrics directed more to the other characters than the audience. Pouring their emotions into song to reach through the layers built up by others. As a vampire story, it’s not strictly about good vs. evil, or human vs inhuman. Each character has complex emotions, desires and needs. As a romance it adds changes the nature of the third wheel. It’s not a human that must choose between two monsters. It’s lust vs love, and the monster gets to make the choice.

Lauri (Nicole A. Craig), whose voice rang clear and beautifully, narrates her tale of sisterly love, blood and death. Using a mix of classic rock with original pieces the characters and Brian Felsen (Pianist) built tactile layers of music and emotion. As the story progresses; the music and lyrics build, growing; desperation, sorrow, rage, lust, fear, binds together in a sensual veil of pain and pleasure.TheRedMoon@ZJU_CAST-PHOTO-1

The Red Moon is captivating from start to finish, but there are a couple of things that bear pointing out. The singing is spot on save one thing. In a packed house, a brilliant opening night, it is hard to hear all of the lyrics. The songs require softness, sensuality, yet without projecting their voices it is sometimes hard to be seduced by the scene. The Red Moon could also use a slightly longer run time; to lengthen a few of the scenes, adding a slower build to the story, reaching the climax as drawn in as possible.

Throughout the themes of love and lust are repeated in The Red Moon. Can a Roxana (Lara Lihiya) love someone, or being the seductress can she only lust after them? Is love enough to cure Roxana? There are many questions you may find yourself asking as the story unfolds, will the answers satisfy you, or leave you longing for more? You’ll have to find out for yourself.

From curtain to curtain Brian Felsen ensnares the emotions unfolding on stage, wrapping them upon themselves, redoubling the heightened feelings. A musical is nothing without its music, and Ramon Sanchez (Playwright, Composer, Lyricist) put together a brooding sensual composition. The lyrics drip with emotion, the accompanying instrumentals wash away reality; only the moods conceived on stage and in music exist. It’s entrancing; you’ll be pulled into the story so deeply you’ll forget yourself. The opening cords of the piano tell you you’re in for an ephemeral ride, the singing which follows, delivers.TheRedMoon@ZJU_PHOTO-1

Roxana and Lauri have a few numbers together, including a well done duet. There is the familiar two persons singing about the other, but not in their presence. Red Moon uses a different palate of emotions to put a compelling twist however. Love is a shade, only slightly different. It’s familial love, the love between two sisters, which includes great depth: jealousy, anger, concern, fear. Each of the main characters has their solo. Anthony (Jason Britt) captures rage, lust, confusion, and what might be genuine love in his number. While Roxana and Lauri try to work through the troubles they’ve each gotten into. The Minister (Paul Carpenter) struggles with lusts, and sins of the past. The vampiric numbers are especially seductive. Whether hunting, courting one another, or venting their more raw emotions, there is a seductive pull to each of these numbers. These numbers are rounded out by the rest of the ensemble, including a few comical chorus replies.

The Red Moon is a dark, sensuous, and emotionally turbulent way to start off the fall season.


The Red Moon (Written and composed by Ramon Sanchez; Directed by Denise Devin) runs at Zombie Joe’s Underground Theatre in North Hollywood, Fridays and Saturdays 830pm September 4 through 26.

All Photo Credit: Zombie Joe

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