From Iceland — Masters of the Macabre

Masters of the Macabre

Masters of the Macabre

Published January 14, 2005

To their credit, Menntaskólinn í Hamrahlíð have put on a stage production of The Nightmare Before Christmas (Martröð á jólanótt) that takes deep bows to that modern master of the macabre, Tim Burton. The stage and costuming are literally translated from Burton’s full-length animated feature and are for the most part well done, though some set pieces seemed rickety to the point of being dangerous. Attempting to recreate on stage the darkness of Halloweentown while lighting the actors well enough to be seen poses a problem the lighting tech didn’t quite seem to master. Only the occasional use of the theater’s disco ball saved the day (or night!). Danny Elfman’s inspired musical score was well-sung by the players despite guffed sound cues and oddly inconsistent mike levels. A promising beginning and action-filled ending were bookmarks for scene-ettes that could very well have played out in half the time.

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