Edward Gorey meets the Ringling Bros. in this tale of murdered brides on trapeze. A joint production by the Strange Tree Group and Aloft Aerial Dance, Ghost Stories! features a few comically sinister men--serial seducer-killer Mr. Spacky and his hunchback sidekick--and a whole flock of bloodstained females in tattered bridal attire. Best about the show is its cozy air of the harem: the brides bicker and compete but also giggle at and gang up on Mr. Spacky, whose efforts to control them generally fail. Scott Cupper is suitably suave, threatening, and inept as the cheesy villain, and as a brash, magnificently muscled tightrope walker, Aloft artistic director Shayna Swanson counters the other women's wailing and helplessness. Emily Schwartz's script is clever line by line, but the episodic narrative is slight: though most of the brides' stories are intriguing, the "climactic" one is so short and undramatic it passes almost unnoticed. Even without an ending, however, this 45-minute show is good fun. a Through 10/31: Fri-Tue 8 PM, Aloft Loft, 937 N. California, 773-317-1195, $13.
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Matt Chaboud.