ENNIS — Just in time for Halloween, Ennis Public Theatre brings to stage the comedy thriller I’ll Be Back Before Midnight. In a rustic farmhouse near the middle of nowhere, spooky goings on hint at hauntings by ghosts of victims from a grizzly murder. Eerie sound effects and lighting complete the creepy character of the remote setting and presage the thrills and chills to come. Note to parents: due to mild language, some dialogue of gory ways to die and scary surprises, this play may be too intense for children.
An isolated farmhouse with a macabre history may not seem the ideal place to recover from a recent hospitalization, but Jan Sanderson (played by Brianna Roberts) is willing to give it the ol’ college try. Her fears are somewhat assuaged by her supportive and loving husband Greg (Jordan Willis), who assures her that this out-of-the-way venue will facilitate her recuperation and aid the two of them in a fresh start for their marriage. As the action progresses, however, Jan becomes less and less convinced that restoration to full health, either marital or personal, can occur in this environment.
Jan’s doubts deepen further at the news that she and Greg will be joined at their little country getaway by Laura (Mollie Slovacek). Jan and Laura have an icy past relationship, which is not helped by Laura’s apparent designs on Greg. Add to the mix George (Walter Smith), a country bumpkin landlord with a penchant for inappropriate conversation about murder and death, and the recipe for disaster is complete.
I’ll Be Back Before Midnight features a talented cast of accomplished performers. Jordan Willis is a Dallas-based actor who previously enraptured EPT audiences with his hilarious performance in Leading Ladies. Brianna Roberts and Mollie Slovacek will be recognized from their excellent performances in Ruthless! The Musical. Mollie also previously delighted audiences in The Murder Room. Walter Smith has not previously graced EPT, but has performed on many other stages.
While not everything that goes bump in the night is scary, the “bumps” in this play are enough to send chills down the spine. Be sure to reserve seats now for a screaming good time. Opening Friday Oct. 23, show times are 7:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, and 2:30 pm Sundays through November 8. For reservations, call 972-878-PLAY (7529), or purchase tickets online at www.ennispublictheatre.com.
J Niswonger loves community theatre and has performed on the Ennis Public Theatre stage.