Misfit Cabaret’s “Night Terrors” is the Campy 80s Horror Musical You’ve Always Needed
Waiting in line for Kat Robichaud’s Misfit Cabaret at the Alcazar Theater on Geary street is definitely part of the experience. My husband and I found ourselves standing in a sea of unnatural hair colors and tattoos, easily distinguishable from the line of yuppies waiting for a trendy Japanese restaurant next door, a quintessentially San Francisco dichotomy. The cabaret series has certainly created its own scene, which in itself is fun to watch. And there is a nostalgic quality to it as well – it brought me right back to the days of staining my parents’ tub with blue Manic Panic dye and wearing the wackiest clothing I could find at the Haight Street Goodwill in the 90s (before too many people had discovered this treasure trove).
Night Terrors, the Misfit Cabaret’s Halloween production, has a loose 80s horror theme, complete with all your favorites – Michael Myers, Freddie Krueger, guy in Scream mask – all with a twist. I won’t give it away, but there’s pasties involved in at least one of these. It would be hard to convince me that John Waters wasn’t an inspiration for the fun mixture of camp and raunchiness on display. The biggest strength of the show is Robichaud herself, who is clearly a star, sometimes so much that she outshines the other acts. Her electric stage presence, fabulous singing voice and chemistry with bandleader Brendan Getzell is the glue that holds it all together. The band is also on point, flawlessly weaving in and out of covers and original songs. A song asking the eternal question “why is my cat staring at the wall?” was a particular highlight.
Being a frequent viewer of cabaret, burlesque, and drag shows, it was an interesting experience to see it in a venue like the Alcazar – a large pristine theater – as opposed to a small sweaty club. I do think it’s worthwhile to elevate these forms outside of their regular context, and if anyone will figure out a way to do it, it will probably be Kat Robichaud. The production value of the show is high, and will likely only improve as the show adapts to its new venue. Her challenge will be to find guest performers with the larger-than-life energy necessary to fill the space. Nonetheless, it’s intriguing to wonder what each new show will bring, especially as a full experience. It’s not something you could ever replicate sitting at home with your TV. And if we don’t support wacky and original local productions like this, they won’t be given a chance to evolve– they will just go away.
Night Terrors plays through October 26th and you can get tickets right here.