An original comedy that is humorously quirky with unexpected twists, is being presented by Crowded Kitchen Players at Between the Lines Studio Theatre in Allentown through Oct. 1.

"The Spectre of Death" follows an aging and over-the-hill heavy metal band as they prepare for what they hope will be a comeback concert.

Playwright and composer Charlie Barnett was inspired by real life shock metal band GWAR which was known for their elaborate and grotesque costumes and which had mainstream success in the 1990s. In the show, the band also wears costumes and masks when they perform.

Heavy metal band the Cript is made up of singer Spec, drummer Styx and bassist Roger. However, the band has sunk into a funk and hasnt performed since the death of guitarist Stevie a year earlier. Their manager Rory brings them an offer to play Metalcon, but only if they can find another guitarist. SPECTRE concert

Mike Daniels nails the arrested adolescence of the emotionally stunted Spec, who avoids responsibility at all costs and spends his days in a drunken haze. Daniels Spec is cocky and self-involved, but unexpectedly likeable as he lives off the bands one big hit "We Are Gonna Rock You To Death" from 1998.

Micah Henning is quite funny as the clueless dummer Styx, who talks in a British accent despite being from Ohio. Hennings Styx is affable and overly enthusiastic as he bangs everything with his ever present drumsticks.

Matt Redlines bassist Roger is the most laid-back member of the band who nonetheless is eager to get back on the stage. Redline makes Roger a bit more grounded than the other.

As Specs hard-working assistant Cassie, Donna White is solidly level-headed and no nonsense as she does Specs bills, vacuums his house, and makes breakfast.

Elizabeth Marsh-Gilkeson plays Delilah, one of Specs one-night stands, who decides to stay and gets very involved in Specs life to his bemusement. Marsh-Gilkeson makes Delilah confident, smart and better than Spec deserves.

Alana Weirbach is self-assured and bright as Ricki, a 20-year-old college student who shows up announcing she is Specs daughter from a one night stand.

Peter McKeon is appealingly preppy as Austin, Delilahs nephew who is recruited to be the Cripts new guitarist.

The cast also includes Jerry Brucker as the Cripts resourceful manager Rory; Dawn Daignault as Rickis mother and Bruce Brown in various roles.

The cast has good chemistry and brings life to all these off-beat characters as they navigate unexpected problems.

It is satisfying when the audience finally gets to the see the band in costume and masked (kudos to Nora Oswald for the mask desing) perform their hit, albeit via a video projected on stage.

Rody Gilkeson, who is making his Crowded Kitchen Players' directorial debut, keeps the action brisk and breezy.

Performances are 7:30 p.m. Sept. 23, 29 and 30; and 2 p.m. Sept. 23 and Oct. 1.

Tickets are $20. Cash or check is accepted at the door,

Between the Lines Studio Theater is located at 723 N. 15th St, Allentown.

Parking is free in the lot across the alley from the theater.

For information, call 610-704-6974, or go to