Fringe Review: Normal

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Playwright: Anthony Neilson
Cast: Justin Goodhand, Edward Charette, Shanda Bezic
Director: Jakob Ehman

On a stormy Friday night, the trio of Edward Charette, Justin Goodhand, and Shanda Bezic gave a haunting performance in the play “Normal.”

Based on a true story, “Normal” is about Peter Kürten, a German serial killer dubbed “The Vampire of Düsseldorf.” Peter Kürten (played by Justin Goodhand) committed several acts of sexual crimes, assaults, and murders in Düsseldorf during the 1920’s.

In the play, a young criminal defense lawyer, Justus Wehner (Edward Charette), holds a series of one-on-one interviews with Peter Kürten while he is on trial for nine murders. What unravels before the audience is a disturbing story of a sadist who wants nothing more than to achieve the same fame as Jack The Ripper.

Peter Kürten not only tells a gruesome tale of his troubling past and the horrific crimes he committed, but also leads Justus to question his own past. As the play progresses, the two characters develop a strange friendship when they realize they’re not so different after all.

Shanda Bezic played Frau Kürten, a former sex worker who succumbs to Peter’s charm and becomes the wife of the notorious serial killer. The three become entangled in a deadly love triangle when Justus interviews Frau about her relationship with Peter.

The play was flawlessly executed, with fluid, seamless transitions as smooth as the choreographed dance scenes and musical score.

With little more than a table, two chairs, and a notepad, the actors stole the show and captivated an enthralled audience. They never faltered in script, looked out-of-character, or wavered in their delivery.

“Normal” will not only give you goosebumps, but also leave you wanting more.

This article is also published for the Fringe Festival 2013 Community Reviews

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