Theater Info for the Washington DC region

Aldersgate Church Community Theater The Haunting of Hill House

By • Oct 22nd, 2007 • Category: Reviews

Listen to our review of The Haunting of Hill House, performed by The Aldersgate Church Community Theater [MP3 5:45 2.6MB].

Mike: This is the review of The Haunting of Hill House, performed by The Aldersgate Church Community Theater in Alexandria, Virginia. I saw the performance on Sunday afternoon October 21, 2007.

The Haunting of Hill House is a tale of horror by F. Andrew Leslie, based on the classic novel by Shirley Jackson. Cut off from the outside world by its remote location and shunned by all who know its forbidding and sinister reputation, Hill House has remained empty and silent except for the daily visits of its grumbling caretaker, Mrs. Dudley. Its isolation is broken by the arrival of Dr. Montague, an investigator of supernatural phenomena who has been granted a short lease by the present owner. His mission is to delve into the morbid history of the house and to come to grips with the occult forces that have made it uninhabitable for many years. He is joined by three others, all unacquainted, but all having their particular reasons for accepting Dr. Montague’s invitation to share his Hill House sojourn. Their visit begins with jovial informality, but their sensibilities are soon jolted by strange and eerie occurrences. As they struggle to disguise their mounting fears they are joined by Dr. Montague’s wife and a friend, who have come to Hill House for purposes of their own.

This show was interesting. It was spooky and scary. I don’t usually like scary horror shows, but this one had the spookiness down pretty well. I liked the special effects especially the entrance of a few of the characters. I don’t want to give anything away, but some of the special effects were really well done.

It did feel rather disjointed, though. There were a few times when I felt that they didn’t go into quite enough detail into something that had happened. I did see a matinee performance and it did seem like there was a lot of light in the auditorium. I think part of that was just light leaking under the doors and at the back of the theatre the sound and light board and they were sending off enough light that it did fill the room with extra light. A couple of the scenes could have been really effective if it had been pitch black. You didn’t need to see the character stumbling their way across the set.

The set was very nice. It was designed by the show’s director C. Evans Kirk. It had lots of subtleties, such as hidden entrances. Not really secret doors, but the entrances were very subtle. I liked the lights. I liked the smoke effects they used.

Dr. Montague, played by Michael J. Fisher, was the investigator of the paranormal. He set up the show. He explained to us what he was doing and why he had asked everyone to come to Hill House. He was very realistic. I could see him as the curious exploratory doctor, like a professor.

Luke Sanderson, who was related to the owners of the house, was played by Tim Pullen. He was kind of making fun of the whole thing and seeing it as another place to be out having a good time. That definitely came across. He did not seem to be too scared of the situation. Later in the show when things got scarier he was very effective.

The two women, Eleanor Vance played by Claudia Love Petty and Theodora played by Deb Green, were a good pair as well. Theodora was kind of flirtatious with both Eleanor and Luke. It worked quite well. There were a few times when Eleanor would make suggestions of maybe I can come back with you. She would shy back from that. I don’t know if her bluff was being called, but I liked her expressions. I liked especially when she was scared. She was supporting Eleanor when Eleanor was being terrified at what was happening.

Eleanor would have different fits that would happen as she would become possessed. I don’t want to give too much of the plot away because in these type shows you really want to be surprised by what happens. But Eleanor played by Claudia Love Petty did a really good job in the part.

I did think, as I said earlier in the show that the show was a bit disjointed. I don’t know if they edited things out or if it wasn’t executed well, but it felt a couple times like there should have been a few more scary bits. There were times when the timing didn’t seem quite right. For example, there was a scene one of the characters was doing something dangerous. So another character called for help. When the characters appeared supposedly they had been sleeping, but they were fully dressed in their day clothing. Whereas some of the other characters had changed clothing. It just didn’t work quite right with the costuming on those scenes.

I did like when the characters would do their introductions, they would stand at the front of the stage. A light would come on above them so they would be lit with a harsh light right above them and they would explain whatever it was they had to explain. That worked really well. The smoke effects were nice. The sound effects worked very well. I liked some of the vocal effects they did with the echoing of different lines with each other.

It was kind of short. It was only about an hour and forty five minutes long with one intermission. It is playing at the Aldersgate United Methodist Church in Alexandria through Saturday November 3rd. Fridays and Saturdays at 8 and a Sunday matinee at 3. There will also be a Thursday night performance on the 1st at 8 pm.

If you’ve seen the show, I’d love to hear your thoughts about it. Simply do that by leaving a comment here on the website. I’d also like to invite you to join our free mailing list so you can stay informed with theater happenings in the DC area.

And now, on with the show.


  • Dr. Montague: Michael J. Fisher
  • Mrs. Montague: Mary Fettes
  • Eleanor Vance: Claudia Love Petty
  • Theodora: Deb Green
  • Mrs. Dudley: Elissa Hudson
  • Luke Sanderson: Tim Pullen
  • Arthur Parker: Steven Haber


  • Producer: Shirley Bolstad
  • Assistant Producer: Jayn Rife
  • Director: C. Evans Kirk
  • Stage Manager: Marg Soroos
  • Set Design: C. Evans Kirk
  • Set Construction: Stuart Travis
  • Assisted by: Sam Schrage, Bill Austin, and Sam Miller
  • Set Painting: Mary Hutzler
  • Assisted by: Pat Travis, Stuart Travis, Jim Hutzler, Becky Smith, Jayn Rife, Valerie Wohllenben and Bobbie Herbst
  • Properties: Deborah Jones
  • Assisted by: Rachel Lau
  • Sound Design: Anna Hawkins
  • Sound Technician: Anna Hawkins
  • Lighting Design: Nancy Owens
  • Master Electrician: Doug Olmsted
  • Assisted by: Liz Owens, Chris Hardy, Elizabeth Herbst
  • Lighting Technicians: Elizabeth Herbst and Leighann Behrens
  • Costume Consultant: Mary Fettes
  • Usher Coordinator: Peggy Bedwell
  • Program: Leighann Behrens
  • Publicity: Bobble Herbst and Rachel Hubbard
  • Tickets: Bob and Marilyn Berry and Bailey Center
  • Opening Night Party: Ronnie Hardcastle and Benny Robles
  • Refreshment Chairmen: Lindsay and Bill Austin
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