Review: Veronica’s Room

Veronica’s Room; 8 p.m. Thursday-Saturday; $17-$20. Geery Theater, 2130 L Street; Through April 15.
Rated 4.0

What better place to set a spooky mystery than in a basement of an old Victorian house? Errant Phoenix Productions, a new theater company in town, debuts its first production, the haunting Veronica’s Room, in the William J. Geery Theatre, which is housed on the lower floor of a beautiful 1890s classic Midtown Victorian. For now, the company is “nomadic,” without a permanent location, according to its website.

Veronica’s Room is a quirky mystery—as expected from playwright Ira Levin, who also wrote Rosemary’s Baby, The Stepford Wives and The Boys from Brazil. It starts off when a friendly elderly couple invites a young couple they meet to come back to their old Boston home. They explain that the young woman is a doppelgänger of a long-departed acquaintance and perhaps it would help the surviving sister with closure if the young woman would dress up as the dead kin.

The young couple is a bit hesitant but nonetheless accepts the invitation, which the audience knows is the first of many bad judgment calls to come. Of course, the spookiness has been established from the beginning with a sheet-shrouded living room and haunting music, so we know this is not going to end well.

This production starts off with a very short first act, which comes across a little slow—both from the play itself and a bit of awkwardness from the actors. But this is a suspense play, and the tension really starts to build in the second half, where the four-person cast (Michelle Champoux, Tim Sapunor, Lucinda Otto and Jason Kaye) fully commits and embodies its shifting characters for a gripping payoff at the end.