Nothing short of magical: Deer Park Homelink’s production of The Canterville Ghost was a journey filled with spills, chills, and all the feels.
The story opens as a raucous and peculiar American family, including two sets of uniquely precocious twins (Rebecca Basta/Jamie McCall and Micah Whorrall/Lianna Shupe), takes on an ancient mansion in England. Soon the family discovers there are many mysteries surrounding the old home, including a strange butler and maid, (Alexander Gooler and Nicole Araya), a troublesome blood stain, and of course a ghost.
The Homelink performers grow stronger with each production. Their stage presence and character development is becoming more profound. As this is the third play I’ve attended, I am learning the various faces and names in the cast. I am more impressed with each student with every play I take in.
Stand out performers: though (I know I say this every time) the whole cast was strong and clearly worked well together, there were a few in the cast that stood out.
Josiah Powell stole many of his scenes with the title character, the Canterville Ghost, aka Sir Simon Canterville. Powell donned an “outrageous French accent” as he brought this not-so-frightening ghost to life on the stage. So many of his scenes were light and funny that when the show was coming to its climax, he drew on a depth of emotion that was completely unexpected.
Emma Mcdonald’s portrayal of angsty teenager, Virginia, was strong and true. The character seemed to enjoy vexing the wayward ghost. Eventually, however, Virginia and the ghost had a moment in which they shared their mutual mistrust of love as well as sorrow over their individual brokenness. I may or may not have had tears in my eyes during this scene; regardless, I was blown away by their performances.
Bralyn Decker also had some great moments, including pulling off two completely different characters so flawlessly that I didn’t realize he was both of them until halfway through the play. Both characters were a great pleasure to watch.
Props (no pun intended) also to the stage crew. The set and backdrop instantly transported the audience into the story. The musical cues, be it dance party, ghostly haunting, or deeply moving, drove the mood and emotions of each scene. Additionally, there was a specific large set piece with a grand secret, the reveal of which was seamless and spellbinding.
As a whole, the play was riveting because of each individual that made it so. Congratulations, Homelink production team. Bravo.