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ODT's 'Thriller' bewitches crowd

Dance company puts on a show that is spooky and fun

"THRILLER," ODYSSEY DANCE THEATRE, Kingsbury Hall, additional performances through Oct. 31 (355-2787)

You know it's close to Halloween when a 3,000-year-old mummy covered in moldy gauze can hook up with some well-toned Odyssey Dance Theatre dancers.

That's right, "Thriller" is back.

The annual Halloween dance event opened it's October run Thursday, and Kingsbury Hall was filled with the electric feeling of anticipation.

For 10 years, ODT has brought it's own version of a haunted house to the stage each year. Witches, vampires, the aforementioned hip-hopping mummy and a few surprises were on tap for this year's spook show.

Such old favorites as the "Frankenstein & Frankenstein" pas de deux; the tap-dance, black-light rattle of "Dem Bones"; and the rhythmic hockey-masked "Jason Jam" are still on hand, drawing delighted gasps, laughter and applause from the audience — which, on Thursday, was clearly into the Halloween spirit.

A new work, "Dawn of Civilization," examines the basic needs of life on Mars, while another new piece "That Voodoo That You Do," saw a school outcast take a bunch of snobby cheerleaders to task with a voodoo doll.

"Voodoo" is funny, but it leans toward the eerie in light of recent schoolyard violence involving victims of bullying striking back at their tormentors. But "Thriller" as a whole is done in the style of horror-movie fun and isn't meant to be taken seriously.

The booty-shaking "Children of the Corn" pokes fun at the slasher films of the past and present, and "Salem's Mass" takes a look at revenge on a hypocrite's self-righteous accusation.

The iconic "Lost Boys" gets into the grace and sensuality of vampires, as they stalk an unsuspecting victim on the dark stage, turning her into a vampire. This year, the use of red stage lights made it hard for the audience to see the blood that splashed from the vampires mouths toward the end of the selection.

Lorena Bobbitt (Suzie Balser) is back with her songs about knives and body parts. And the Giggle Girl draws some chuckles when she sings about seeing "Mommy Killing Santa Claus" and dives into a duet of the Beatles' "Do You Want to Know a Secret" with a baby alien emerging from her chest.

Another audience-pleaser is the technically stunning, Irish-dance shooting-gallery presentation "River of Blood Dance." Those in the audience Thursday who had never seen this piece got the surprise of their lives as the 10 women tapped out authentic Irish tap steps while dodging rifle shots.

While the production overall entertains and enthralls, on Thursday there were a couple of opening-night glitches during a couple of video presentations. Missed cues and a projector malfunction were corrected quickly and will undoubtedly be ironed out throughout the rest of the show's run.


E-mail: scott@desnews.com