Wednesday, July 12, 2023

Grey House - Broadway

A show with a bunch of creepy kids is most likely going to be a creepy show.  That’s the case with Grey House, a horror/ghost tale with, yes, a collection of creepy children.  The play, starring Laurie Metcalf, has its share of supernatural and spooky moments, but there is too much focus on the eeriness - strange rituals and bizarre antics - instead of plot.  Audiences need to wait until the final moments of the show to start putting the pieces of this  labyrinthine puzzle together.


The real fun of the production is Scott Pask’s claustrophobic and nightmarish scenic design - a rundown cabin in the woods - and Natasha Katz’s otherworldly lighting mixed in with Tom Gibbon’s ghoulish sound design.


At the start of the play we are introduced to the curious group of children residing in the ramshackled abode.  Raleigh (Laurie Metcalf) seems to be the head of the household, but her parenting ways are just a bit off.  Enter Max (Tatiana Maslany) and Henry (Paul Sparks) who take refuge in the house after skidding off the icy road and smashing up their car, which severely injured Henry’s ankle.  There is a lot of bizarre babble, rituals, and goings-on.  Max and Henry realize something peculiar is occurring.  They just can’t figure out what until it’s too late for both of them.


Playwright Levi Holloway provides a fair share of bumps in the night, but I was wanting more substance throughout the show as opposed to the “aha” moments towards the end of the production.  Director Joe Mantello’s tight staging of the chilling happenings keeps the audience’s interest, especially how he adeptly integrates the creative elements into the play.


The cast is fine, led by multi-Tony Award winner Laurie Metcalf.  The actress brings an appropriate gloominess and morose dourness to the motherly Raleigh.  Ms. Metcalf’s actions portend something ominous, but she skillfully keeps it under wraps before the big reveal.   Tatiana Maslany’s Max and Paul Sparks’ Henry are suitably perplexed as the couple walking into mysterious surroundings.  They both convincingly convey bafflement, concern and, finally, fear.  Sophia Anne Caruso’s Marlow, the seeming leader of the young group of children, richly imbues her character with enough quirks and weirdness to chill the heart of the bravest soul.


Grey House, a mostly disappointing horror/ghost story, playing at the Lyceum Theatre on Broadway.



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