Tuesday, October 27, 2015

theatre review - THE HAUNTED - Actor's Youth Theatre - October 23, 2015

Laurynn Allen
photo: Lisa Webb / Southwest Shots Photography

Click here for more information on this production that runs through October 31st.

"For a creepy and spooky Halloween experience...Actor's Youth Theatre's production of The Haunted is a welcome addition to the traditional Halloween haunts. Based on Robert W. Chamber's classic short story "The King in Yellow: The Repairer of Reputations," author and director Marcus Ellsworth has crafted a mostly original piece with plenty of chills, ghostly characters, and murderous acts. While there are a few negatives, including some confusion in the overstuffed plot, the end result is a fun and often frightening theatrical treat.  Told over three generations, Ellsworth sets the piece mainly in a haunted English summer cottage where the inhabitants become possessed if they read the second act of the bound play "The King in Yellow," a copy of which just happens to always be readily available in the house. ...While Ellsworth uses a couple of Chamber's characters, most of the piece is original, with Ellsworth creating several generations of characters who are relatives to the ones in the original story. The plot is fairly well paced with realistic dialogue and also includes several well written moments that are eerie and disturbing....However, with dozens of characters, a couple of whom are confusing as to exactly what their relationship to the plot is, and with several scenes in the first act that aren't clearly flashbacks or not, a few slight revisions and a small amount of editing and clarification would make the overall effect even better....Ellsworth also directs and achieves believable and haunting performances from most of his cast, though a few of the young cast members should project more in order to be heard better. As Rachel, the daughter of the author of "The King in Yellow" play who serves as a ghostly narrator, Laurynn Allen is superb, not only in her even-measured and spooky line delivery but in the way she floats across the entire theatre, just like a ghost. It is a haunting performance. ...Ellsworth's direction creates plenty of spooky scenes, with superb, evocative, and dim lighting from Tom Fitzwater that adds considerably to the effect. ...Julie Clement's costumes are perfectly gothic in nature and Cheri Lundgreen's extremely creepy makeup is the icing on this cake of demonic horrors.  While there may be a few plot points and characters that could be clarified, Actor's Youth Theatre's production of The Haunted makes for a fun Halloween theatrical outing, full of spooky elements and chilling moments, and illustrates a good first play by director Marcus Ellsworth."   -Gil Benbrook, Talkin' Broadway (click here to read the complete review)

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