The Beta Males' Midnight Movie Theatre

Not quite a film night and not quite a variety show, sketch comedy troupe The Beta Males play host to a feast of entertainment from some of the Fringe’s finest comedy acts while the B movie horror extravaganza Spiders plays behind them. The film is introduced and played, with asides and intermissions performed by the various guests and The Beta Males themselves. The film itself is appropriately terrible and unintentionally hilarious - in itself worth the money - but where the real value lies is in the asides.

Words cannot do justice to what The Beta Males refer to as ‘Immers-o-vision’: recreation of the special effects with low-budget props. Timed to a tee, these jokes are never milked or underused. Another highlight is a commentary from the ‘director’ Gary Jones - at once both tragic and hilarious; he gives a flawless performance as the alcoholic artist. Not all the asides are quite as effective, though, with certain acts detracting from the film rather than complementing it.

Occasionally the film is paused to allow for full sketches of varying quality. Generally the stronger performances had a direct correlation to the action on the screen, such as deleted scenes and exposition of minor characters. This created an atmosphere reminiscent of having a private joke, with the audience and the performers united behind mockery of the horrendous quality of the film. Though all guest acts performed with reference to the horror genre there were times when the tone drifted too far away from the main feature, somewhat spoiling the atmosphere.

This is the price we pay, however, to witness extraordinary variety and originality. The premise is simple but executed with great panache and is truly a unique experience. The finale, especially, is phenomenal. I sincerely hope that this show is resurrected in the future and that The Beta Males continue to find fresh slants on established formulae. Other acts should take note.

Since you’re here…

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The Blurb

Scream yourself hoarse with a galaxy of Fringe stars and critically acclaimed hosts The Beta Males at this thrill-tacular. Using patented Immerso-Vision they'll transport you inside a late-nite horror-movie! ‘Genius’ (Sunday Times).

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