'Hollow' on point

By Tom Helma

Riverwalk’s Halloween show an immersive, interactive thrill

Clearly, Riverwalk Theatre has put its heart into this adaptation of the classic Washington Irving short story, “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.” It begins with a walk through the darkened black box theater, which has been transformed into a living diorama representing the ghostly village of Sleepy Hollow.

After winding your way through this spooky scene, you arrive in the main stage area and the play begins. Narrator Alex Freeman is joined by a cast of 21 others. The costumes, created by designers Chris Kennedy and Megan McGowen, are some of the most interesting in a long time.

The actors aren’t subtle in their characterizations, but the performances are spirited and well performed. Bret Robertson is Brom Bones, a burly bully who intimidates the hapless Ichabod Crane and the other schoolboys. Robertson, all muscle and pose, struts through scenes like a weight lifter on steroids, evoking much humor.

Riverwalk elders Sandy Thomasson and Marie Papciak play a crisply matched pair of old hens, squawking and fighting throughout the play. Both bring great en thusiasm to their roles as townspeople.

Every person on stage is well positioned at all times and responsive to the children in the audience. An epic clip-clopping of puppet horses eventually pits poor Ichabod against the Headless Horseman, and the children in the audience on Sunday came excitedly to life, warning him of the impending danger.

“He’s behind you!” one child cried, and then, adding with a sense of adult irony, “Of course, you wouldn’t see him, would you?” Hey — it was good.

“Sleepy Hollow”

Riverwalk Theatre 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 25; 2 p.m. & 4:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 26; 2 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 27. $7/$5 students, seniors and kids 228 Museum Drive, Lansing (517) 482-9812 riverwalktheatre.com