Who doesn’t love a fun and creepy experience that appeals to all ages for Halloween? With The Sleepy Hollow Experience, Serenbe Playhouse has combined a haunted house and a theatrical show into a devilishly delicious production for all ages.
For those who might be wondering how it all unfolds, think of a choose your own adventure story. Instead of making a choice and flipping to a certain page number, you instead follow a character to a specific destination. Like in a haunted house where each room has a story, each destination (a party outside or a loft in the stable) unfolds more of Ichabod’s tale in an immersive experience.
The narrative, adapted by Kathryn Schultz Miller and based on Washington Irving’s famous story, follows Ichabod Crane (Chris Mayers), Sleepy Hollow’s new school master, as he interacts with Katrina (Jessica Miesel), whom he has become smitten with, Brom Bones (Jacob Cooper), a jealous rival, and the infamous Headless Horseman himself. It also features original music and sound design by Jevares C. Myrick and Bobby Johnston.
Brian Clowdus has a penchant for finding the perfect spot to stage the theater’s productions, and the Serenbe Stables provides an ideal setting for this type of performance. At night, the cavernous and dark stable is already spooky. When mysterious costumes, lighting and fog come into play, the elements evoke an eerie atmosphere.
Two storytellers narrate the adventure. Played by Laura Floyd and Brandon Connor Patrick, they both are enjoyable and adept at not only interacting with the audience but also as guides as they lead the group from destination to destination. Their interactions and quips are humorous and crowd-pleasing, but it is Floyd’s enthusiasm that one into the setting.
Miesel provides humorous moments as she interacts with Mayers and Cooper. While Mayers is missing the trademark pony tail, he fits the bill of the nervous and timid Ichabod, and Cooper proves to the perfect antithesis and antagonist as Brom Bones.
It is the Headless Horseman, however, that is the star of the show. While the audience gets fleeting images of him during various scenes, a thrilling encounter with the horseback Headless Horseman proves to be a satiable climax to the evening’s events.
One of the area’s best Halloween treats, The Sleepy Hollow Experience plays through October 31, 2013. For tickets and more information, please visit our Now Onstage listing or the theater’s website. Most shows have already sold out, but some late night performances have been added. Please note that the performance will go on rain or shine. The show’s runtime is a little over an hour without an intermission.
– Kenny Norton