In an interesting made-for-television format, RAVENSWOOD MANOR is divided into 12 episodes broken down into two episodes/weekend for a six-week run. Each pair of episodes, however, stands alone – with a brief summary of what went before at the beginning of all performances. At the same time, the conclusion is hidden until the final two episodes.
Written by Justin Sayre, who doubles as Bettina Doors in the production, RAVENSWOOD MANOR works hard at creating a camp, horror, soap opera production which clearly delighted the audience, whose uproarious laughter punctuated nearly every moment of the play during the evening of the review. But the highlight of the evening was Drew Droege, a comic whose face melts into each different emotion called for. Droege played two roles (Mary-Lois Raypatch-Scriggs and Iris Patch), as did many of the actors as the deliberately ridiculous tale unfolded.
At some time a few years before yesterday, the Ravenswood sisters three got up to tricks resembling the Bard’s famed witches in “Macbeth.” Somehow, Ravenswood’s eerie past has filtered into the present day – where family members have been tainted with the brush of their scary forebears. As a matter of fact, the bizarre history seems to be having frightening effects on everyone who just happens to come into contact with Ravenswood Manor and its peculiar denizens. Set in a small New England town during the spring of 1966, RAVENSWOOD MANOR outlines the adventures – and misadventures – of its motley cast.
It’s pretty clear that the production team had fun recreating a Gothic manor house filled with dark shadows and doors into the unknown (lighting by Martha Carter; sound by Christopher Moscatiello; visual artistry by Craig Stephens). Costume designer Judith Armas and wig designer Mandi Moss went all out in their efforts to dress up the cast in their weirdly clever outfits. With an original score by Henry Koperski and theme music by Lizzie Hagstedt and Robby Sandler adding to the ghoulish goings-on, RAVENSWOOD MANOR tries to reach every one of the audience’s senses.
Directed by Tom DeTrinis and Jessica Hanna, RAVENSWOOD MANOR is replete with the overdone, melodramatic, and exaggerated moments called for in a show trying to create an entertaining and campy horror story. At the same time, much of the humor appears to depend upon sexualized sight jokes and pre-adolescent laughs. For individuals who enjoy a sexy, sometimes crude “Three Stooges,” RAVENSWOOD may be right up their alley.
RAVENSWOOD MANOR runs through November 24, 2019, with performances at 8 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays and at 2 p.m. on Sundays. The Celebration Theatre is located at 6760 Lexington Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90038. Tickets range from $25 to $40. For information and reservations, call 323-957-1884 or go online.