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A chilling ghost story with a stellar cast.

Ray Gonzalez, Abigail Boucher, Alexandra Tavares,
and Julie Briskman in The Thin Place at ACT.
Photo credit: Truman Buffett

Do you like a good ghost story, Dear Readers? I do. I love it when a creepy tale can make my flesh crawl and jump out of my seat. But there are so few creepy tales on stage. Well, enter Lucas Hnath's "The Thin Place" currently performing at ACT. Not only is this a truly terrifying tale but it's from one of the hottest new playwrights around today, author of "Dana H" and "A Dolls House, Part 2". Add into that a stellar cast and you have a frightfully fun evening on your hands.

Now, without giving too much away, I'll try and break the story down for you. Hilda (Abigail Boucher) is a woman with an otherworldly gift. Ever since childhood she could hear what people are thinking. Well, she could hear one person, her grandmother. And her grandmother helped her to hone this gift until it opened her up to be able to hear people who were not even there, who had passed away. But Hilda never did much with her gift, that is until she meets Linda (Julie Briskman), a woman who claims to have a similar gift and uses it to connect people with their departed loved ones (for a fee, of course). Linda soon introduces Hilda to her brother, Jerry (Ray Gonzalez) and friend Sylvia (Alexandra Tavares), two wealthy and influential people. And after a night of dinner and drinks, the thin place between our world and the next begins to allow certain messages through. But to whom? And from whom?

Director Brandon J. Simmons takes this seemingly innocuous script and amps up the tension in it to a palpable level as we get further and further to the other side. He's managed a pace of the piece that crept up on the audience and before we knew it, we're deep into the terror in the best possible way. And aiding in this effort are some fantastic lighting designs from Connie Yun and horrifying sound designs from Matthew Starritt and Erin Bednarz.

Julie Briskman and Abigail Boucher
in The Thin Place at ACT.
Photo credit: Truman Buffett

The cast is superb beginning with Boucher who manages to keep the audience in the palm of her hands from the first moment. She gives such an unassuming presence to Hilda that anything paranormal would feel out of place coming from her, making the emergence of certain other presences even more frightening. Briskman proves once again to be one of the best in the area with a fantastically larger than life character that you cannot help but love, even when you don't love her so much. And Gonzalez and Tavares bring in opposite sides of the same superficial 1% beautifully keeping us off our guard with talk of $200 wine glasses and visas. But what works best about these four is how they were all "in the same show" and so tight with each other in their performances. There was not one ounce of disbelief or being out of the moment for them which translated to us in the audience and their timing with each other made each and every conversation honest and real.

The show is terrifying with a killer ending, but it does leave a lot open to your own interpretation. Hnath does not hand you anything in this on a silver platter and I for one loved it. And when combined with his gift for crisp, fresh dialog, this 90-minute play just cruised by. And so, with my three-letter rating system, I give ACT's production of "The Thin Place" a "totally made me jump several times" YAY. You need not have special powers or concentrate with your third eye to know what I'm thinking, "Go see this show!"

"The Thin Place" performs at ACT through April 10th. For tickets or information visit them online at

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