- Reporters Desk
By John Farrell
Ghost in the Meadow is Little Fish Theatre’s Halloween special this year, but it just isn’t scary.
Despite the best effort of the actors the play is about as frightening as a flu shot: something to get and get over. The premise: a haunted house in the country with two sisters, one of whom sees ghosts. The other is an unbeliever. This has been done to death in the movies and is too predictable to be scary.
Add to that that Joe Simonelli’s play, directed by Paul Vander Roest, can’t seem to decide if it is a thriller or a romantic comedy. Perhaps it is because it is just written that way, perhaps it is because director Vander Roest didn’t make up his mind about it.
Two sisters, Sheila and Kylie Roberts (Sylvia Loehndorf and Jocelyn Christiensen) have bought an old house in the country three hours from Manhattan and are just moving in as the play begins. Sheila wants time to paint, and time to find a new life without her boyfriend Julian Shaw (John Haegele). Kylie is excited, too, but apparently not as sensitive to the atmosphere as Sheila. She sees a boy in the meadow. The boy suddenly vanishes. The door to the attic mysteriously locks. When Julian, a police officer, shows up to try to rekindle his romance with Sheila, he suggests bringing in a psychic, who has helped the police before.
That psychic is Antoinette, played with a cheerful understatement by Madeleine Drake. She can sense what is going on, at least with the ghosts, and proceeds after a few more locked doors to lay the spirit with Roman Catholic holy water and Protestant prayer. But what she and the rest of the cast can’t do is make the play mysterious. The ghost story should be prominent, but the romantic story comes to the forefront. The ghosts are spooky enough for a Halloween haunted house — perhaps — but hardly frightening. There are just too many laughs and not enough scary bits for the play to work.
Tickets are $24. Performances are Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. through Oct. 25, with one matinee Oct. 12 at 2 p.m.
Venue: Little Fish Theatre
Location: 777 Centre St., San Pedro