Haunted Housing

Hide and Seek

At Seaside Theater, Saturday, April 15.

Reviewed by Alexis Bird

Seaside Theatre, a welcome presence in Carpinteria’s cultural life for a number of years, is currently adding suspense to the community by way of Lezley Havard’s three-act mystery Hide and Seek. The production, directed by Penni Louise, opened April 7th in the cozy and charming Theatre Molley Barbey.

The play focuses on the collision between real and supernatural forces set in motion when a young couple expecting their first child encounters inexplicable problems as they try to refurbish an old farmhouse. Lights fail, the plumbing malfunctions, an odd neighbor provides a disconcerting housewarming gift in the form of a prayer book for the burial of the dead, and the pregnant wife claims to see a young girl swinging silently in the yard.

The cast includes a number of actors familiar to Carpinteria audiences, as well as several who are making debuts. Seaside Theatre veterans Rani Apodaca and Philip Moreno play the young couple, Jennifer and Richard Crawford, and they turn in commendable performances, as does debutante Deborah Cristobal, who plays Vicki Bennett, the couple’s future sister-in-law. Michele Porter, as the frail, anxious neighbor Elly Bart, is a standout. She brought her character to life and provided needed energy to the production, which lags at times in the vitality necessary to maintaining real suspense. Paul Sant’s rousing portrayal of Richard’s brother Tony Crawford was also useful in this regard. Rounding out the cast were Corey Mikael Zetterberg as the young contractor, Ericka Lopez as the cleaning lady, and Dennis Lyons as the farmer. Special mention should go to the youngest cast member, Mallory Koenig, who played the Jacky/Jill role with honesty and conviction.

The sets and costumes designed by Asa Olsson were highly effective and a major plus for the production. Olsson’s yeoman effort extended to sound and light duties which she shared with Hanne Pitcock.

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