Tales From Mom's Crypt 666: Mark of the Tiffabeast | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

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Tales From Mom's Crypt 666: Mark of the Tiffabeast

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Tales From Mom's Crypt 666: Mark of the Tiffabeast, Corn Productions. Dead babies, creepy sideshow midgets, and scatological pirates add up to a wildly uneven but oddly charming journey into Tiff and Mom's fun house world. For the sixth Halloween installment the Berwyn duo, created and played by Robert Bouwman and Todd Schaner, join a cast of nine under Bouwman's slapdash direction. The nine sketches--plus squabbling interludes between perky plus-size Tiff and booze-swilling Mom--are far from artful but succeed in terms of the show's gross-out aesthetic.

Given the recent rash of child abductions and murders, it's either incredibly ballsy or incredibly tasteless to focus on slaughtered kids. The downright chilling "Night Night" features a couple with an infant who lock their doors against escaped killer Uncle Sid, unaware that he's already in their house. Bryan Kelly's menacing/ soothing Sid (like SIDS, get it?) embodies every nameless fear new parents have, and giving a palpable shape to primal terrors is what the best horror shows have always done. But most of the material broadly spoofs familiar horror cliches--the creepy hotel, the murderous camper.

Scott Lamberty's music for the second-act Freaks send-up, "The Little People," is clever and catchy. And judging from the overly enthusiastic response to the show by one inebriated customer, the series still has legs--not to mention a lot of other bloody body parts.

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