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Stage Reviews : 'The Uninvited'

June 20, 1986|ELISABETH GRAHAM

"The Uninvited" at the Muckenthaler Cultural Center offers an aimless production of an undistinguished play.

Playwright Tim Kelly has reheated some Agatha Christie leftovers--a brother and sister move into an ominous cliff-side manse that was the scene of a violent death several years before. Unfortunately, the L. P. Repertory production can't decide whether it's high camp or standard mystery.

Director Sarah Coleman has her cast emphasize the melodrama in the script, using broad gestures and exaggerated inflections of speech, and accompanying it all with eerie music. But the cast seems to be taking it all too seriously, never transcending the ludicrousness of the script.

Further, the performances are a grab-bag of conflicting styles. Most effective are Debra-Leigh Schmidt and Tiffanie Smith, who bring conviction to the roles of the new homeowner and the mysterious young resident haunted by her mother's death. Louise Tonti provides some funny moments as the housekeeper.

William J. Durkin's set adequately depicts a decrepit sitting room, and his excellent lighting produces some interesting effects. Tim Thorn's mood-setting portrait over the mantle deserves special mention.

"The Uninvited" continues through June 29 at the Muckenthaler Cultural Center, 1201 Malvern Ave., Fullerton. Information is available at (714) 731-2792.

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