Unit 102 presents a vampire horror-comedy at the Theatre Machine in Toronto
What does a person do when their enemy is stronger, faster, and smarter than them by being older than them by a few millennia? Is a fight worth it? Is it pointless? Or is it something more sinister? Vampires are powerful and vampire hunters are human in Luis Fernandes’s The Hungry presented by the Unit 102 Actors Co. at the Theatre Machine.
Drawing on vampire lore and a love of 80’s horror movies, The Hungry follows Rebecca (Chloe J Sullivan), a vampire hunter, who begins to question her group’s use of an archaic crossbow that nobody knows how to use. Her questions force leader Vargas (Steven Arran) to try and mitigate the damage to his rule through drastic measures.
My guest, Liz, and I differed a lot in our opinions on the play. See, I found that The Hungry suffered from too many ideas, a meandering narrative, and scenes that outlive their purpose. It felt like many ideas and a few characters could have been condensed for the sake of time, with sections combined or removed entirely. At the same time, the cast is strong, the comedy is funny and the show has heart.
I felt the pacing and complicated narrative slowed the pace to a crawl with moments of excellence in between. On the other hand, Liz thought that overall the work was solid, interesting and fun to watch. We both agreed that in a play about vampires and vampire hunters, there were too few vampires present.
Arran, Sullivan, and Alison Brooks as the vampire Carrion, were stand out performances for the evening. Arran and Brooks had what I thought was the best scene of the evening: simultaneously creepy, funny, and serious — a small peek at the potential in Fernandes’ writing. Sullivan, for her part, was tasked with a complicated role that required constant movement between funny, sarcastic, damaged and determined but she delivered.
The Hungry is not something I would recommend to just anyone. There is extremely gory imagery and offensive language. Sometimes the language served a purpose but sometimes it didn’t. Would horror fans love it? Well, Liz and I are hardcore horror fans, and we were at odds over the work as a whole. Think of it more in the vein of From Dusk till Dawn, you may love it, you may hate it, but you’ll definitely think about it.
- The Hungry plays until April 4th at The Theatre Machine (376 Dufferin)
- Shows run Tuesday to Saturday at 8pm
- Tickets are $20 and can be purchased at the door, online here, or by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org; Tuesdays are PWYC
Photo of Caroline Sawyer provided by Unit 102 Actors Co.