I wonder if anyone had recorded this? See the not so positive review from the Chicago Tribune toward the end of the post.
Review from the Chicago Tribune, October 3, 1990, by Sid Smith:
Frid's Approach to Spooky Readings is Not So Chilling
Jonathan Frid, who gave vampiricism a better name with his long-running portrayal of Barnabas on the old ``Dark Shadows`` daytime serial, is in Chicago with a pair of one-man shows wherein he dramatically interprets short stories, poems and a few other bits of brief writings.
Standing on a stage in the smaller space at the Halsted Theatre Center, Frid provides what's sometimes called oral interpretation, reading the selections with expressive force and characterization but minimal gestures and staging. In keeping with the persona that made Frid famous, the works in
``Fools and Fiends,`` one of the two programs now in repertory, are spooky or slightly horrific.
Ghosts and supernatural skullduggery play at least a hovering role in the pieces. Edgar Allan Poe's classic ``The Cask of Amontillado,`` in which a fiendish murderer provides a step-by-step account of how he buried an enemy alive, rests alongside more-modern fare by the likes of Stephen King and Irwin Shaw, tales of murder, mayhem and misanthropy. ``The Ghost`` by Richard Hughes is the opening selection, and even ``The Open Window,`` by Saki (the pen name of short-story maestro H.H. Munro) has for its twist a seeming return from the grave.
Frid is a graceful, enthusiastic reader, but the program suffers from conception and content. This old-fashioned, librarian approach to entertainment is mildly pleasant but a little outmoded, ours an era of the videocassette and complete works of literature read aloud in audio. Frid`s presence adds little-as a dramatic offering, ``Fools and Fiends`` comes off as hopelessly behind the times.
Moreover, the selections don't give much of a boost.
The famous ones, notably ``Cask`` and choice verses by Ogden Nash, are overly familiar.
The more contemporary stuff, the pieces by King and Shaw and others, are humdrum and so-so, mildly engaging and quickly forgettable.
Even their little plot twists seem tame and unsurprising.
In ``The Ghost,`` Hughes relates of a dead man`s efforts to haunt the woman who murdered him, while ``Dead Call`` is William F. Nolan`s creepy narrative of a supernatural phone caller urging his living friend to suicide. Saki`s ``Window`` amounts to a sick trick played on a visitor by a nasty young adolescent teller of tall tales, while Shaw's ``The Girls in Their Summer Dresses`` reports of a long-married couple`s confrontation over the husband's ceaseless skirt-watching.
King`s story, ``The Man Who Loved Flowers,`` is a quick, disappointingly straightforward account of a lover turned homicidal maniac.
The most unusual and worthwhile material comes in the form of Eve Merriam`s ``Inner City Mother Goose`` selections, which turn the ills of modern big-city ghetto life into mock nursery rhymes.
Strangely, and all too briefly, Frid scores best with material drawn not from the mists of the Gothic imagination but from the very real horrors glimpsed nightly just outside the contemporary urban front door.
You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.