Bobby Corn and the House on Weedy Lake | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

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Bobby Corn and the House on Weedy Lake

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Bobby Corn and the House on Weedy Lake, Corn Productions. 'Tis the season to be spooky. So of course there's something creepy about Weedy Lake, where Becky Corn takes her two loud, frenetic children camping. In this new musical mystery for children, the audience is invited to scream along with Bobby (the comically wimpy Jason Bowen) and Rachel (Jenny Lamb as a taunting, malicious older sister). Predictably, the siblings explore the area even though they fear the lake's ghost, hear strange noises, and encounter the quirky camp hostess, an amusing neat freak with witchlike tendencies (Monica-Hope Kallman).

With its slapstick renditions of sneaking through the woods, frozen faces of horror, and screams of surprise, this 45-minute show has fun moments. Still, its glimpses of creativity are overwhelmed by far too many familiar sight gags and cliched characterizations. Julia Rojas's sheriff and director-playwright Patrick Brooks's "ooga-booga"-speaking Nature Boy can be funny, but even kids deserve more original characterizations. And Sara McGuire is miscast as the menacing Mz. Landers, an evil old woman who lives nearby. She makes little effort to play the villain's role and so there's little to fear in her solo number "Pesky Kids." Other suspicious characters are also underplayed. Vito Vittore is inconsistent as the butler, Nicklesworth, and the bland J. Preddie Predmore as a strange kid botches another of the show's potentially scary solos, "Dale's Descent."

--Jenn Goddu

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