Chesterfield is a horror-thriller where the killer is a… well you read the title, right? It’s brought to Ottawa Fringe 2013 by crowd-pleasers Dead Unicorn Ink following up two huge hits in Space Mystery from Outerspace and Playing Dead.
Should you see it?
It’s a dark and stormy night. For their 2nd anniversary, Zack decides to buy his wife a sofa. (Sorry: chesterfield.) He’s picked out something with a hideous floral pattern that he was able to get cheap because it had just been returned.
The problem is that – you do know where this is going, right? – the Chesterfield is alive. And this is a horror/thriller. Limited by its mobility, the Chesterfield likes to play mind games. I won’t spoil much else about the plot except to say that the Chesterfield has a big mouth. Used both for manipulating people and for the more traditional uses.
Dead Unicorn Ink is known, among other things, for their puppetry, and the titular Chesterfield is their largest build to date. DUI is also known for their B-movie style approach to theatre. In both those respects, fans of DUI will get what they expect. The Chesterfield puppet is quite impressive, and the show is definitely right up the alley of a B-movie.
Only, this time it’s a bad B-movie. Not one of the timeless gems like Evil Dead, but the bad B-movies you only watch to make fun of and after the first time, the only fun in the movie is making fun of it. You know? Chesterfield requires a really high amount of suspension of disbelief to accept the plot on an ongoing basis. But I mean, the villain of the piece is a Chesterfield, so you know what you’re in for. The characters and staging and plot are built to service it.
And that’s not to say this is a bad show. DUI’s best? Maybe not, but their fans aren’t likely to be disappointed. There’s good comedy, a lot of blood, strong production values, good performances (the male characters are a bit uneven but Gabrielle Lazarovitz is a rockstar), surprising heart (which I especially appreciated), and a terribly absurd climax. All told, some fun to be had — as long as you don’t take it remotely seriously.
But that’s just my opinion and I’d love to know what you think? How does Chesterfield stack up to DUI’s past fare? Was Chesterfield all you expected and more? Tell me in the comments below.