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Table 8 offers up holy rollers and she-bitches at midnight

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Theodora: She-Bitch of Byzantium” is part of a midnight twin bill currently offered by Table 8 at the Onyx Theatre.
Molly O'Donnell

The Details

The Book of Leviticus Show and Theodora: She-Bitch of Byzantium
Three and a half stars
Through August 26, Friday and Saturday, midnight, $10
Onyx Theatre, onyxtheatre.com

Inspired by USA’s “Up All Night” series, Table 8 brings bad television to live theater, courtesy of the Onyx. While this may seem like a dicey prospect, the competent direction and delivery combined with the midnight show time work in the company’s favor.

Troy Heard directs both the film about a TV holy roller, The Book of Leviticus Show (shown on a screen), and the play that follows, Theodora: She-Bitch of Byzantium. “I wanted to create something that has a midnight-movie aesthetic,” Heard says, “the perfect hour-long campy diversion.” Campy or not, the juxtaposition seems to do the trick, and the casting helps.

“Troy has chosen some of the most talented actors in town,” says lead Anthony Avery. Actors like Breon Jenay do shine even in minor roles, but given the subject matter, the real talent is in keeping a straight face. The play tells the story of a Byzantine empress under the spell of a gypsy love potion. Avery embodies this empress, “not a drag queen, but a real woman.” The difference may seem slight, but when you see he’s over 6 feet tall, the kind of guy who looks like he was born with 5 o’clock shadow, you start to get the picture.

Admittedly, these absurdities are not everyone’s bag, but if the stories fail to enthrall, the delirium of midnight theater will suffice. Attendees are expected to be people who rarely make 8 p.m. curtains. For $10, even if you aren’t just coming off of a shift, it’s a better bet than an extra hour of sleep.

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