You’re indoors when the moon—Mister Moon, to be specific—comes out. But the stage is lit up all the same, because it’s just part of the oddball fun of Night of Zabrecky, playing October 23 and November 7 (both Tuesdays, by the way) at the Steve Allen Theater. It’s an hour of understated magic, deadpan comedy and even music(!) that’s delivered in a very funny, entertaining update of the whole Charles Addams-Edward Gorey-Roman Dirge-Gahan Wilson-Tim Burton-Mark Tatulli school of sinister humor.
The venue is small, comfortable and cozy, which is perfect for bringing the audience face-to-face with Rob Zabrecky (yes, the same Rob Zabrecky from Possum Dixon) and his morbid, twisted stage magician persona. If you’ve ever wondered what it might be like to have tea with a comedy version of Norman Bates, or perhaps how it would feel to catch a one-man show with the shadowy mortuary attendant from some old black and white horror flick, then you’ve come to the right place.
Zabrecky’s style is all his own. You might see flashes of Steven Wright, Robert Bloch, Emo Phillips or even Alfred Hitchcock in his dry, crisp delivery (Zabrecky hasn’t forgotten how to use his voice), quirky punchlines and utterly deadpan commitment to the most absurd situations. The perverse choices he makes in which illusions to present and how to offer them up definitely makes his show a surprise, too. But when he gets audience members on the stage, the awkward hilarity really highlights how delightfully strange his performance is. There’s a sense that you’re watching a madman who can barely function in polite society, and he’s trying to put on a grand show for you, but it’s really starting to get on his nerves. In a reverse of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers dancing in a classic musical, you just know that it takes real skill and talent to do a show so flawlessly while adding the nuance that it’s all “flawed.”
Offbeat, unusual, funny and fast-paced, Night of Zabrecky is a comedy-magic show not to be missed. It’s presented currently by Trepany House and Nightmare City, in association with Cinefamily and Elijah Wood’s Woodshed production company. Tickets are available now, and if you’re ready for a marvelously different Halloween treat, buy them immediately. And tell them Grandfather sent you.