It seemed fitting that I wasn’t exactly sure where I was going. It was only around 7:00pm, but it was dark in Cambridge, and as I stepped off the train the wind howled, and I realized that I was almost entirely alone in the night. There was a slight chill in the air yet I walked confidently towards Cambridge street. There I would find an empty storefront, windows covered over in paper, and a dark alley to the right with a single sign with an arrow pointing into the darkness until just ahead, a light.
I had found The Wrathskellar.
The Boston Babydolls (the same group that got me onstage naked reading stories with “Naked Girls Reading“) had really outdone themselves this time. I was led to a small table in front of a playhouse that had been created out of the back of that covered up storefront. Stages had been erected, the walls covered over with cloth and decorated
as though we had just gone back in time to a macabre London brothel and someone’s odd dream at the same time.
The show had not yet begun, but girls lay draped onstage with props and talked to patrons in character, setting the stage for the evening’s events.
The show was captivating from the very start. The cast was introduced by the creepy yet witty host and owner of The Wrathskellar Herr Bücher, played by Scratch, one of the founders of the Boston Babydolls. The scene set has such a creepy air that when he cracks a joke there is a pause before the audience realizes we’re allowed to laugh. He introduces each act yet also begins to introduce a story,
so as we’re watching the girls dance and remove clothing, we are becoming aware of the underlying plot that is The Wrathskellar.
A cast of characters that you find endearing yet fearful guide you through this scantily clad nightmare, and there are moments when girls take the stage when you couldn’t hear a single breath being drawn. Devora Darling gives a electrifying performance as The Lost Girl, her ballet and dance background becoming hauntingly apparent as she moves across the stage.
Black Swan meets Moulin Rouge meets Sweeney Todd, complete with Miss Mina and Betty Blaize as The Wrathskellar’s competing stars The Diva and The Countess.
The show has twists and turns and a wonderful yet horrifying plot as well as stimulating and enthralling dancing, aerial acts, singing, magic and of course, the art of the striptease that is burlesque like only the Babydolls can pull off. In this busy week I had somehow forgotten to take a breath and remember that along with this chill in the air, Halloween is right around the corner.
The Wrathskellar was the perfect way to get into that spooky mood,
and lucky for you they have five shows remaining with the last being on Halloween night itself. Tickets can be purchased online at wrathskellar.com. [Until 10.31.11. 545 Cambridge St., Cambridge. 800.838.3006. 8pm/18+/$20-$25]