In what has become an October tradition, Q Artistry, for the seventh time, stages its “Cabaret Poe.” But for the first time, it leaves Irvington to haunt the stage of Theatre on the Square, 627 Massachusetts Ave. in downtown Indianapolis.
The show, playing weekends through Halloween day, is a revue of select spooky stories and poems by 19th-century horror author Edgar Allan Poe, presented by show creator Ben Asaykwee with two women from a rotating cast of Julie Lyn Barber, Lauren Briggeman, Jaddy Ciucci and Renae Stone, and a spectral dancer portrayed by Rebekah Taylor. Most are set to songs by Asaykwee. Some incorporate Poe’s words; others, like the humorous “Buried Alive,” are his own creation.
Using the TOTS main stage allows the production to have a different look, with stage sets spread to the left and right and the familiar crypt in the middle, and better lighting. The show itself hasn’t changed much, though the actresses each give their parts their own style. For instance, serious stage veteran Briggeman gives “The Raven” ominous gravitas.
Still, the show has charming dark humor running throughout, and moments of interaction with the audience help make each performance unique. Asaykwee apparently still enjoys sharing his ghoulish creation, persuading us to actually have fun with a series of cruel, grisly murders and haunted souls.
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Aside from “Raven,” the show features favorites including “Fall of the House of Usher,” “Cask of Amontillado,” “Annabel Lee” and “The Pit and the Pendulum.” Asaykwee purposely leaves the lineup out of the program (the “Poebill”) so the audience can be surprised at what macabre treats await and in what order they arrive.
For information and tickets, call 317-685-8687 or visit qartistry.org or tots.org.