Dead of Night Offers Chills

Harvey (Jonathan Harrison) tells his wife Janet (Kathy Bell Denton) about an unsettling dream he had the night before in “Harvey’s Dream,” one of six short plays based on stories by Stephen King in The Visceral Company’s production of “Dead of Night,” now playing at the Lankershim Arts Center through Nov. 6.

Just in time for Halloween, the Visceral Company presents an evening of suspenseful short plays based on Stephen King short stories. A little uneven, the presentation does feature some fine acting and production work.

The production features six King stories that offer a chilling twist at the end, often macabre and eerie. While the pieces do include both lighthearted moments and dark, suspenseful sections, most of the works are too literary bound, telling events through narrative rather than visceral presentation.

The show builds as the evening progresses, with the last play, “The Ten O’clock People,” the strongest. Director Jana Wimer and writer Dan Spurgeon create fine staging and images in the last setup, complemented by creative lighting and effects. Ironic humor, dark twists, and nice timing add to the spooky feeling. “Mute” is also good, understatedly revealing how one man unexpectedly gets his problems resolved. “Nona” has some twisted moments, and “Harvey’s Dream” is believably real.

Jared Martzell brings quiet intensity and energy to his characters, making them believably edgy and vulnerable at the same time. Roger Weiss makes the troubled Monette alternately relieved and suspicious. Corey Craig’s gentle, shy appearance hides the angry, menacing ogre within his often psychotic and dangerous characters. Carl Bradley Anderson gives solid, understated dignity to his roles.

The show features adult language and situations, and is recommended for more mature audiences.

Dead of Night demonstrates that things often aren’t what they seem, suggesting that charming, sweet looking characters often hide boogeymen inside.

The Visceral Company presents Dead of Night Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m., Sundays at 3 p.m. through Nov. 6 at the Lankershim Arts Center located at 5108 Lankershim Blvd. in North Hollywood. Tickets cost $25. Please visit www.thevisceralcompany.com for further information or to buy tickets.

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