The Pumpkin Pie Show: Amber Alert Spooks 4th Street

Clay McLeod Chapman offers up a new set of strange monologues

Just in time for Halloween, this year's Pumpkin Pie Show delivers horror stories culled from that funhouse of the bizarre and macabre: the daily news.

Created by writer-performer Clay McLeod Chapman, the revue of solo pieces, Amber Alert, stages five fables spun from real-life events. The highlights: a hormonal high school wrestler acquires a competitive advantage by spreading herpes to unsuspecting foes; a Texas tween becomes infatuated with outer space and Judaism (equally alien to his backwoods milieu) when he discovers fragments from the diary of Israel's only astronaut; and a repentant sexual predator explains his decision to proceed from chemical castration to the real thing (self-inflicted).

The boisterous three-member company takes turns performing the monologues into a microphone—chipping in secondary characters from the sidelines, laughing appreciatively at one another's antics. The endearingly lo-fi setup—empty stage, lone mic, sound operator supplying music—leaves us space to imagine the details of Chapman's outlandish modern myths.

Lo-fi outlandishness
Chris Smith
Lo-fi outlandishness

Details

The Pumpkin Pie Show: Amber Alert
By Clay McLeod Chapman
The Red Room
85 East 4th Street
212-868-4444, horsetrade.info

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Some of the stories overstay their welcome, clotted by meticulous description more suited to prose fiction than performance. And some of the humor is pretty fratty: Chapman delights in dropping the C-bomb, and lovingly describes smeared fluids and bodily dysfunctions. But the scrappy outfit performs with verve, reminding us that reality is freakier than fiction.

 
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