Freddy Krueger lines up with one of the more haunting sounds of the pop-sided 90s in the Ballad of the Backstreet Boys, laying waste with suggested blood and theatrical smoke. Bodies are dropping not to the beat of a drum but the sound of snoozing just another few minutes.
Scraping through the Backstreet Boys catalogue there are more songs that line up with events from A Nightmare on Elm Street than not. Some are twisted to fit such as "I Want It That Way" being the natural rally cry when a bunch of concerned citizens look to throw a child killer into a furnace. Others include lyrics here and there getting a leg up with minor changes such as "... But glove is all I have to give ..." and it's a sly crook to take that and run it with scissors.
Dropping into song the sound cuts out, the voice wavers and the tracking falls off. A disconnect between the level of what is said and what is sung. The confidence in tune loses footing, then righting itself eventually when the rhythm picks back up. Works well in the end.
The casual air in murder with all sorts ending up dead, gutted and hanged keeps the flavour of the parody upbeat and the carnage of what is wrought in the background of delivering the cheese that comes along in slices. It's gleeful, and comforting in a way, to see dead people lure others into the dark world with a beat as the background work spins on a triangle to make full use of the woodwork.
When the spree kicks in the remaining teens try their best to stay awake and away from the dreamscape. There is no telling exactly what year or what decade the story falls. It doesn't feel like current times as there is no ready access to the many palms of pills and medications that rifle themselves freely through the school hallways.
Noticeable too is that there is no mention of coffee or any other shots of caffeine and the maddening effect of hitting snooze to keep the body awake with the mind dead to the world as the limbs constantly shock themselves in a tense fashion because the side rail is coming up close now and that rumbling is no longer the tires crossing the line but the drubbing of rubber against a neck. Clearly these teens are not the cram-studying type as they would be all too familiar with devices to stay days woke reading rote.
At one point an alarm clock falls heavy to the ground off a bedside table. It doesn't shatter. It doesn't trill. It sits there as the cast carry on. There on the bedroom floor the face of time knocking back0 in this world where we cannot find ourselves but for the moments left behind. The footprints we see following us and the ticking of a heartbeat racing away from the sound of shears and knives cutting into the daily rigmarole that burdens us through high school.
And here is the resilience that comes to the forefront. That elasticity of teenagers on the brink of adulthood as they cheer themselves on through the muck of corpses and glimmer of parental sobriety. Yes, the world around you may be shredded to pieces and the friends you know by way of sitting in the same class no longer present, but the adult future awaits. The true lesson is that keeping on means moving on and having no funerals for those mass graves are but awash in the soil of the school playground.
One might say Teddy Crooner is the villain of the piece, but that’s a song without a backing track to lip sync to. The real deal is that the lone survivor is the one who has been pulling the strings. You cannot call yourself a band if you play no instruments and the Backstreet Boys strum no guitar. Unless we relax the definition where now the voice is our instrument and indeed the spectre of Crooner is an unnatural extension of that.
So through drunken nights and keeping a face in the classroom we make a pact and summon the underworld, calling upon it our hand to do away with those who slight us, those who embarrass us, those who are standing in our way.
And so we slash and burn away that trail for mother dear is knocking back another bottle and it is only so much before the morning after comes and shines into the bags under our eyes.
On blocks of concrete ledges at the Joe Ford Amphitheatre for the 29 October 2016 performance. Written and created by Ricky W. Glore, directed by Sommer Schoch with the Flashback Theater Company, there are two hours with a 15 minute intermission breaking up with floodlights dimming and a shadow in the near distance walking through the trees.
Reviewed on Monday, 7 November 2016