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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, November 1, 2019 - Volume 47 Issue 44
Spooky fun with The Brothers Paranormal
Arts & Entertainment
ALL STORIES
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Spooky fun with The Brothers Paranormal

by Miryam Gordon - SGN A&E Writer

THE BROTHERS PARANORMAL
PORK FILLED PRODUCTIONS
(AT THEATRE OFF JACKSON)
Through November 16


Prince Gomolvilas kind of hit the jackpot with a 'rolling world premiere' for his play, The Brothers Paranormal. It's a new kind of world premiere where several theater companies across the country choose to present a brand new play all around the same time. In the past, a new play was 'world premiered' at one theater company and then no other company really wanted to do the 'second' production! So, as an innovation to get over that dumb hump, this new way was invented.

So, Seattle and Pork Filled Productions (PFP) were a part of the roll-out of this new play. PFP is presenting it at Theatre Off Jackson. Gomolvilas was there for opening night and the company was so delighted that they were able to surprise the playwright: They innovated a creepy special effect that he hadn't seen any other company do where an actor was swallowed by a wall grate.

What? Yep, swallowed by a wall grate. The Brothers Paranormal is a wonderfully creepy, mostly funny, play with a hint of dark reality that gives it a fuller feeling than 'just' having fun. It is, of course, masterfully positioned at the end of October so you can go to it as a timely celebration of spookiness.

It's 2007, in a mid-sized Midwestern city, and Max (Sean Nguyen) and Visarut (Van Lang Pham) have established a new company that provides ghost busting services. It's not that they think all ghosts are real. In fact, Max assures his first major client, Delia (Selena Whitaker-Paquiet), that what they mostly do is de-bunk ghost sightings, rather than confirm them. But Delia is very sure that something or someone is haunting her house.

Delia is so sure that she has convinced her husband, Felix (Ronnie Hill), to spend what little they've put away after losing everything in Hurricane Katrina. Felix goes along for his own special reason, out of love for his wife. The reason Delia has chosen this company is because they are Thai - and she thinks the ghost speaks Thai to her!

We also meet Max and Visarut's mother (Kathy Hsieh), who teaches them Thai and might even be able to help talk to the ghost. And the audience gets to see a ghost played by Margaret Luxamon Hotchkiss who does a great job being spooky as hell.

There are some terrific low-tech special effects and even some magic tricks that definitely caused the audience to gasp in surprise. The set with secret sauce was created by the mega-talented Robin Macartney, who has been a multiple nominee and winner of several Gypsy Rose Lee Awards for Excellence in Set Design over the last half decade.

Carolina Johnson contributes spooky lighting effects (strobes, spotlights on various things moving by themselves). Troy Lund provides more atmosphere via the sound design.

The family dynamics in the play are cute to watch with Hsieh reveling in the dominating mother, enforcing the Thai culture. Whitaker-Paquiet and Hill have lovely chemistry as husband and wife and it's nice to see a black couple simply being a loving and supportive couple without major plot drama.

There are some plot twists that may not be revealed here, and that should keep you guessing and on your toes as the play unfolds. It's family-friendly for older kids and up, perhaps 11 or so. Besides Dracula at ACT Theatre, this is definitely the most freaky fun.

For more information, go to www.porkfilled.com or call 800-838-3006.

Discuss your opinions with SGNCritic@gmail.com or go to www.facebook.com/SeattleTheaterWriters. More articles can be found at MiryamsTheaterMusings.blogspot.com.

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Kathlyn Horan, director of The IF Project, displays the Festival's trophy, presented to her as winner of the Audience Choice Award. On her left is Kim Bogucki, the Seattle police officer who developed the life-changing program. From left to right are FHFF volunteers: Producer Karen Palmer, Board Member Susan Waters, and Director Lynn Danaher. Matt Pranger photo
Broadway tap legend Savion Glover to perform at Jazz Alley Nov. 4-6
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Spooky fun with The Brothers Paranormal
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LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
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Historically rich Harriet a haunting tale of an American legend
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SkarsgÄrd's terrifying charisma dominates otherwise uneven Kill Team
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Hamilton's return and Reyes' assertiveness reboots the Terminator franchise
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Visually dazzling Paradise Hills a suspenseless dystopian thriller
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