A scary illusion with a warm, witty and charismatic flare, “Things That Go Bump in the Night: Ten Tales of Terror” is a treat perfect for Halloween time, but one that would work on just about any stage, as long as the people in the audience like to laugh, think and be scared. Producers Andrew Rothkin and Jay Michaels deliver a variation of plays that are frightful to the eye, but comical to the ear.
Consisting of 10 short plays, it sounds like a lot to experience, but the pacing is eerily calm and enjoyable. The first prouction of the night, “The Change”, is a haunted tale of a dreamer’s nightmare, one man’s anguish and frustration with his fears of the night. Actor Jon Noto gives a torturous portrayal of what his nights are like as a human changing into a monster, separating himself from his work and the people that love him so he won’t have to harm them.
Towards the end of “The Change”, the audience is introduced to intermediate actors funny and charismatic, dressed as vampires with corky personalities singing “Haunted When The Minutes Drag,” actors Greg Pragel, Marlain Angelides, Meghan Sinclair and Alex Eckstorm guides the audience into next act, intriguingly giving away what’s to come while keeping the audience engaged.
“Not Funny,” written by Christopher Lockheardt and directed by Ariel Leigh Cohen, is the second play of the night perfectly set behind the scary that is “The Change.” “Not Funny” is actually amusing, A tale of two lovers who are opposites on the sarcasm ladder. Actors Bill Moore and Janette Zapata give a comical twist on an arguing couple, with extensive rambling, proving how being funny to someone, who is not funny can get you in a whole lot of trouble.
Next up is “Taste of Hell” written by Max Gill and directed by Melissa Skirboll a cultural mix of diversity. Actors Adipt Dileep and Nitin Madan give a different spin on karma, evil spirits and greed. It’s one of the forgettable plays, in the mixture, but its corky antidotes are needed to fill out the production.
“UFO Weather”, the fourth play in the first act, written by Max Gill and directed by Melissa Skirboll, is brought to life by actors Charlie Jhaye and Jennifer Lynn Tune, Jhaye and Tune gives audiences a dose of sibling rivalry. With goodie two shoe little sister Tune trying to bring her sister, Jhaye, back to reality instead of out in the universe. A relatable piece to all who have battled with their sibling or try to understand them, when you just don’t.
In “Scramble” actors Ellen Karis, Charles S. Kennedy and Stephanie Windland portray paranoia in a facetious way. Windland plays the level’ headed daughter, who tries to have a civil breakfast with her beyond paranoid mother Karis, who plays off the emotions of Windland. When things get pretty weird, Windland’s character is forced to realize her mother is not as paranoid as she thought and she was right all along.
Nitin Madan returned in his second play of the night and the last play in the first act, with Sara Minisquiero and Nic Tyler in “The Greenhouse,” written by Mark Cornell, and directed by Scott H. Schneider. “The Greenhouse” is a tale of two incompetent kidnappers who have kidnapped the wrong girl in Minisquiero’s character. Madan’s comedic timing is impeccable as he plays off Cornell serious demeanor, as Minisquiero is sneaky and hilarious with her antics on stage, this threesome is sure to make audiences laugh.
Act two opens up with actors Vance Clemete, and Wende O’Reilly, “A Troubled Heart,” written and directed by Constance George pulls at the heartstrings, a mother and wife played by O’Reilly is seated nervously waiting for her husband’s return home from the army for the holidays. Clemete is gentle and humanlike in his portrayal as the kind stranger waiting beside O’Reilly as she sits in the airport, unloading every emotion she feels in the moment to him.
‘The Monster Seated Next to Me” has to be one of the standout plays, written by Steven Korbar, and directed by Jay Michaels, Actors Savannah Marie Elliot, and Jay Michaels play an oblivious young woman, and a suspicious vampire. Michaels shines as the unrealistic vampire, pale,and chubby, unlike the Cullen clan from those pesky “Twilight” books. In an awesome showcase of wit, Michaels tries to bridge the generation gap to Elliot’s flanked delusional younger self, who even when a vampire is trying to talk to her for his kill is still to consumed with her own affairs to pay attention.
Call Upon” is a tale of two young kids in search of their parent’s souls, written by Devlin Giroux and directed by Andrew Rothkin. Actors Emilio Evans, and Samantha Randolph play two children one naive or seemingly so Randolph, and Evans who wants nothing to do with his sisters plans of a ghostly search and revenge is joined by Ellen Karis character a gypsy who is both quirky, and funny in her false prophecies.
In the last play of the night “Fang,” written by Alex Dremann and directed by James Monohan, actors Lili Klein and Ben Rezendes are hilarious in this doctor, patient exchange. As Klein play a dentist with extreme relationship issues and deep-rooted sexual tension, Rezendes plays a vampire in desperate need of a fang check. Klein and Rezendes chemistry is impeccable as they play off each other and wow the audience with their stage presence.
Hilarious enough to be just scary, “Things That Go Bump in the Night” “Ten’ Tales of Terror” is just what you need to scare away all Halloween fright. Rothkin and Michaels give audiences a little bit of everything from goons and goblins to vampires and werewolves, the charismatic and witty of the cast, impeccable set design and makeup, makes for a great entertaining night.