"What Ghosts Around Comes Around" ***
By: Paulanne Simmons
The mystery/farce is a venerable sub-genre, and Larry Hassman gives it a supernatural twist in What Ghosts Around Comes Around, a one-act directed by Bill Koch, just completing its run at the Midwinter Madness short Play Festival.
Hassman plays Simon, the ghost who, at the very beginning of the play, asks the audience to help him find his murderer amongst the typical suspects. There’s Rosemary (Emelia Brawn), the luscious maid who has been carrying on an affair with Simon, and Jason (Dwight Carter) the distinguished butler, who knows in which closet all the skeletons are hiding.
Jenny D. Green is Beatrice, Simon’s greedy sister-in-law, and Arnold Rodriguez is Burton, her greedier son. But most avaricious of all may be Henry (Patrick Christiano), the lawyer who will make anything legal for the highest bidder.
After a few expected and unexpected twists, a bit of mayhem and the help of the not-so-friendly ghost, the murderer is revealed. But this doesn’t necessarily mean that poor Simon will be able to rest easy in his grave.
Hassman has written an enjoyable play and the ensemble cast gives it an energetic presentation. Christiano and Carter push the farce with their particularly sinister portrayals of the lawyer and the butler. And Brawn and Green are fun to watch as different shades of the conniving female, young and old.
Using the ghost as a device to frame the mystery is an interesting choice, but Hassman would have done better to let the plot unravel with less interference from the other world. In that way the audience would have had a better chance of assessing the characters and figuring out who was the murderer.
And when it comes to watching a mystery, isn’t that what it’s all about?
Midtown Short Play Festival – Winter 2015
Roy Arias Studios
300 West 43rd Street
Photography: Barry Gordin