I am a fan of improv, and I am a fan of horror and creepy things. The latest show to be presented in Playhouse 46’s unique theater-in-the-round is The Creeps, created by and starring Catherine Waller, combines the two in unexpected and entertaining ways. It has garnered a number of awards, including Best Female Performer in the 2014 & 2016 Hollywood Fringe Festival, as well as Best Interactive Show & Best Physical Theatre at the 2016 & 2018 United Solo Off-Broadway Festival (the world’s largest solo theatre festival), and finally The Best of the Fringe at the Amsterdam Fringe Festival in 2016.
Part improv, through copious amounts of audience interaction, and part scripted, The Creeps delves into the strange world of… something. The basement of a night club? A hospital? A testing lab? Something combining all three? It is in that place we meet a handful of characters who interact with the audience in different ways as they tell their tales, reflect on their past, or plan their escape.
It’s not a show for everybody. Some of the subject matter is mature, even sadistic in nature. Ms. Waller’s ability to quickly move from character to character is impressive, as is each of their quirks and mannerisms. Who can be believed? Who is the victim? Are we all doomed?
In the end, I was very much entertained, and enjoyed it for the most part. I really wanted more backstory, more explanation of what was going on, instead of just little teases here and there. But then again, like the unseen monster in the best horror movies, maybe our own minds are able to create worse monsters than could ever be scripted in the first place. Even though I wanted to know more, I left with the sinking feeling that maybe I didn’t really want to, especially if the perpetrator was as evil as my mind made him out to be.
I’ll reiterate, it’s not a show for everyone, and for me, still has a very “Fringe”-y feel to it.
The Creeps has a runtime of approximately one hour with no intermission.