They’re all going to laugh at you!” In Stephen King’s novel, that cry serves as a threat, but it’s clearly the motto of Theater Couture’s take on Carrie, adapted for the stage by Erik Jackson. Lubricious costumes, wry asides, and a heroine played by the strapping drag performer Sherry Vine (a/k/a Keith Levy) all suggest that squeals of delight rather than terror are the desired response. As in the novel and the Brian De Palma film, the story features outcast Carrie, whose psychic powers greatly enliven her high school prom. It also features lots and lots of pig’s blood (from a very cute pig, courtesy Basil Twist).
The cast and director Josh Rosenzweig struggle to achieve the properly teasing tone. Some performances and jokes seem labored and some of Twist’s low-tech telekinetic effects slightly misfire, but they don’t detract from the campy ado on offer. Vine gives a merrily awkward performance, all blank eyes and sloped shoulders, while Keri Meoni and Kathy Searle amuse as her bitchy nemeses. And as the butch gym teacher, Danielle Skraastad entertains even when she’s being impaled by a prom decoration. If only more high school dances—and their ornaments—were so memorable.