Laughs, Not Scares ; TCT Presents 'The Canterville Ghost;' Auburn Troupe Stages 'Let's Murder Marsha'

By Blankenship, Bill | The Topeka Capital-Journal, October 7, 2016 | Go to article overview

Laughs, Not Scares ; TCT Presents 'The Canterville Ghost;' Auburn Troupe Stages 'Let's Murder Marsha'


Blankenship, Bill, The Topeka Capital-Journal


Although "Ghost" is in the title of one new play opening this weekend in Shawnee County and "Murder" is in the name of the other, there are more laughs than scares in both stage productions.

A Topeka Civic Theatre & Academy youth production of "The Canterville Ghost," Darwin Reid Payne's adaptation of Oscar Wilde's short story, will run through Oct. 16 in Oldfather Theatre at TCT, 3028 S.W. 8th, while Auburn Community Theater will offer Monk Ferris' "Let's Murder Marsha" through Oct. 16 as its final production at the Auburn Community Center, 121

W. 11th.

Mary Caitland Williams guest-directs "The Canterville Ghost," which pits an American family against a 300-year-old spectre.

The family has purchased from Lord Canterville (Noah Long) an English manor in which centuries ago Sir Simon (Luke Longstaff) is accused of killing his wife. Ever since, according to the housekeeper, Mrs. Umney (Dani Saunders), Sir Simon has made a major nuisance of himself, with her being one of his favorite targets.

Unexpectedly, the family -- Mr. Otis (Keiran Hayes), Mrs. Otis (Abbey Gabriel), the oldest daughter Virginia (Catherine Longstaff), the twins Marlyn (Zoe Luttrell) and Mirium (Paloma Campbell) and Andrew (Matthew Luttrell), the youngest -- not only don't seem scared, they appear eager to encounter the poltergeist.

While Sir Simon does his best to scare the bejabbers out of the Otises, even donning clanging, clanking chains much like Marley wore in Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol," he succeeds only in waking Mr. Otis, who lends him some lubricating oil to cut down the squeaking.

The younger children wind up chasing Sir Simon.

Only Virginia takes the time to get to know the ghost and learn what really happened between him and his wife and how she might be able to help Sir Simon finally rest in peace, along with everyone else in manor.

Sara Myer designed the set, lighting and sound and serves as technical director. Costume design is by Kate Stires, and Manessah Krohn stage-manages the production.

Meanwhile, at Auburn Community Center, where Auburn Community Theater's loss of its lease has put it in search of a new venue and new name, the title character of "Let's Murder Marsha," Marsha Gilmore (Kelly Brown), is the wife of a wealthy stockbroker, Tobias Gilmore (G. …

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