The Uninvited

The Uninvited; 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 2 p.m. Sunday; $10-$15. Art Court Theatre at Sacramento City College, 3835 Freeport Boulevard; (916) 558-2228; Through October 19.
Rated 4.0

The good news about Sacramento City Theatre’s production of The Uninvited—adapted by Tim Kelly from a novel by Dorothy Macardle—is that, in both production and performance, it’s actually kind of scary. The even better news is that it’s got top-notch production values, including a detailed set and moody, artistic lighting—both designed by Sean Weinsheink.

Set on the English Channel in the mid-1930s, The Uninvited is the story of a brother and sister, Roddy (Tim Brown) and Pamela (Breanna Reilly), who buy a lovely country house from Stella (Emily Labowitch), a young woman under the guardianship of her grumpy grandfather. The house, of course, has a checkered history: tragic death, tales of haunting and dry rot.

Soon enough, Pam and Roddy are dealing with a serious ghostly infestation. Though they’ve got the assistance of their friends—the local doctor (Gerardo Martin), a painter (Skyler King), and a Tarot card-reading actress (Kathy Murison)—the real issue is the question of precisely who was the ghost who is haunting them.

Outstanding performances include Theresa Vann-Stribling as the scene stealing, superstitious Irish maid, Lizzie; Brown as the skeptic-turned-believer Roddy; and Murison’s actress. Directed by Lori Ann Delappe-Grondin, The Uninvited succeeds as a thriller, a ghost story and a showcase for student actors. To advance the mission of providing roles for students, the roles of Stella and Pam are shared with Kacie Isosaki and Shelby Murray, while the ghost itself is played alternately by Evelyn White and Margaux Warren.

This is an excellent opportunity to get in a few early chills as we enter the Halloween season.