Monday, October 23, 2023

Lock-In: Twin Cities Horror Fest XII


Wizard Wax Productions

In Short:
Gabriel, a trans latinx pastor, is new to Bethel Lutheran Church. In his quest to unlock a century old mystery, he invites back the 1985 youth group for an adult lock-in.

Selected Cast/Creative:
The cast includes Jex Arzayus (who also wrote and directed), B. Johnson, Danielle Lynch, Janelle Kloth, Julie Censullo, Laura Hild, Mahmoud Hakima, Maureen Bourgeois, and Will Schroeder.

Our Thoughts:
We saw Lock-In on our second day of the Twin Cities Horror Festival. This is the first of two shows (the other is Shadows Under Wabasha) that are held in VERY INTIMATE Crane Studio space. We're loving the Crane as a lovely, intimate setting for the Twin Cities Horror Festival, but the Studio can feel a little tight. Particularly when there is a "splash zone," where select audience members are provided with plastic rain ponchos. If they've got their splash zone that well planned out, then props to SFX Designer Celeste Williams.

Lock-In is overwhelmingly packed with plot elements. We've got a youth group reunion, a mystery, an escape room, possession, an exorcism, drug addiction, spirit boards, multiple personalities, and probably more that I'm forgetting. Not to mention, we've got family relationships, first loves, Satanists, and murder. It's a lot! Some elements of this show worked very well. There was some good characterization (a standout is Janelle Kloth as the troubled Bo) and relationships, especially considering that this is writer/director/actor Jex Arzayus's first time producing a full-length play. Some of the special effects worked well and I also love the ambitiousness of the set (built by Lucas Nafziger), particularly a trick with a mirror. 

Sure, it could use a little editing, a little smoothing out, but you know what this play has? Heart. When reading the program for Lock-In after seeing the show, we could not help but be incredibly charmed by Jex and their heartfelt appreciation of the cast, the crew, the TCHF, and even "my 7th-grade art students at Parkview Center School for helping make props for the play." Love the effort, love the enthusiasm, love the heart.

You Should See This If You Like:
Taking a chance on a scrappy show in an intimate space. Also, if you bring your program to Wizard Wax record/comic book store, you can get 20% off any item in the store!