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Earl the Vampire

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Five vampire friends find themselves at the center of a vampire-rights movement that quickly gets out of hand in this dark comedy by Sean Michael Welch. The idea is amusingly quirky, but Welch's approach is schizophrenic: he can't seem to make up his mind whether to present a character-driven portrait of misunderstood misfits or a broad social satire about rabid activist types, media feeding frenzies, and brutally hegemonic governments. Chris Arnold's staging for Thunder & Lightning Ensemble is certainly lively but might benefit from dialing it back a bit. Vampire stories are bound to have screams, of course, but this one seems to have nothing but. --Zac Thompson a Through 2/11: Thu-Sun 7:30 PM, Side Studio, 1520 W. Jarvis, 773-332-9939, $15.

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