Shalom Life | April 23, 2014

The Mill, Part 4: Ash

The Canadian ghost story saga concludes in an apocalyptic future.

By: Miriam Cross

Published: January 19th, 2011 in Culture » Stage » Reviews

The Mill, Part 4: Ash

The Mill knows how to set a mood. Since its inception in the fall of 2009, the four-part play series about a haunted mill in small-town Ontario uses the tiny Tank House Theatre in the Distillery District to brilliant effect, showing how some well-placed special effects, moody lighting and sound, and clever uses of multimedia can make the most of what was presumably a small budget.

Arriving onstage several months later than originally expected, “Ash,” the final play in the four-part cycle, is worth the wait. To recap, the first three plays in the series (“Now We Are Brody,” “The Huron Bride,” and “The Woods”) took place in the 17th and 19th centuries, illuminating how the mill evolved from a massive burial ground of the Wendat tribe to a haunted mill that claimed the lives of everyone who tried to claim it as their own. “Ash” (written by Damien Atkins and directed by Vikki Anderson) takes place in an imagined apocalyptic future. The mill is still recognizable as its former self (and a neat effect of watching in such a small theatre is that you feel like you’re almost inside the set), but this time a hardscrabble group of survivors are taking refuge from a barren and dangerous outside world.

Included in the group are Bird (Michelle Monteith), the naïve mother figure holding them all together the menacing Fox (Ryan Hollyman) and Rabbit (Frank Cox-O’Connell), who provides most of the comic relief. Richard Greenblatt is their mysterious protector who has seemingly gone missing while trying to forage food for their survival.

Of course, the ghost-child Lyca is still kicking around the mill and terrorizing its inhabitants. This time she’s played by Natasha Greenblatt (daughter of co-star Richard Greenblatt), who takes over for Holly Lewis. The two actresses couldn’t be more different – Lewis is sallow, pale, and much more ghostly looking, whereas Greenblatt is earthy and feline (and frankly, a little too pretty for the role, even when done up with matted hair and bloodshot eyes). Nevertheless, Greenblatt matches her predecessor’s sinister air well.

Like the other three plays, “Ash” sets a genuinely creepy tone without seeming tacky. (I saw it on its first preview, where a technical malfunction eliminated most of the music and ambient noise, but I didn’t even notice anything missing.) Nevertheless, while it isn’t the weakest of the bunch (that would be the dragged-out “Woods”), it isn’t the strongest either. One problem is the casting: none of the actors seem as young or innocent as the characters they’re playing appear to be, and much of the dialogue feels stilted as a result. The characters are drawn roughly for the most part, changing motives without clear reason, and the story tends to go in circles, at least until the unexpected climax.

Still, anyone who’s followed the saga up until now will be fairly satisfied with how everything pulls together. And if this is the first time you’re hearing about it, you’re in luck: all four parts are playing in repertory until the end of the month.

“Ash” runs until Jan. 29 at the Tank House Theatre, Young Centre for the Performing Arts. For more information, visit www.theatrefront.com.

Drake to Join Pharrell and Kendrick Lamar at iHeart Radio Music Awards Drake to Join Pharrell and Kendrick Lamar at iHeart Radio Music Awards TrendingDrake Being Sued For Toronto Nightclub Beating Drake Being Sued For Toronto Nightclub Beating TrendingThe Nosh Pit - Chocolate Dessert Recipes The Nosh Pit - Chocolate Dessert Recipes Trending
 

Chisel Used to Build Western Wall Discovered

April 23, 2014 | By Daniel Koren
Chisel Used to Build Western Wall Discovered

The chisel, from the second Temple period, has been found by the Israel Antiquities Authority

Read More

Israel's Mobileye May Power Tesla's Driverless Car

April 23, 2014 | By Sophie Imas
Israel's Mobileye May Power Tesla's Driverless Car

Elon Musk's vision of driverless cars may come to fruition, reportedly in conjunction with Mobileye's collision avoidance technology

Read More

Mural, Mural on the Wall Brings Animations to Life for Your Children

April 23, 2014 | By Daniel Koren
Mural, Mural on the Wall Brings Animations to Life for Your Children

We speak to cartoonist/animator Shannie Van Buren about the fantasy worlds she creates through her art

Read More

Israeli Wi-Fi Powers Russian Subways

April 22, 2014 | By Daniel Koren
Israeli Wi-Fi Powers Russian Subways

Passengers aboard subways in in Moscow enjoy Wi-Fi courtesy of Israeli communications provider, Radwin

Read More

Israeli Comedian on 4.20: Let My People Smoke! [VIDEO]

April 22, 2014 | By Daniel Koren
Israeli Comedian on 4.20: Let My People Smoke! [VIDEO]

Gadi Wilcherski and a group of Israeli pot advocates campaigned outside Health Minister Yael German's house early Sunday morning

Read More

Shalom, French Polynesia: A Jewish Culture Guide

April 22, 2014 | By Sarah Bauder
Shalom, French Polynesia: A Jewish Culture Guide

Approximately 130 islands comprise French Polynesia, with Tahiti being the most famous, largest, and most populated.

Read More

Katy Perry Impersonates Unfunny Rabbi in ‘Birthday’ Music Video [VIDEO]

April 22, 2014 | By Ashley Baylen
Katy Perry Impersonates Unfunny Rabbi in ‘Birthday’ Music Video [VIDEO]

The pop star takes on a number of the "World's Worst Birthday Party Entertainers"

Read More

Seth Rogen and James Franco to Perform ‘Bound 2’ Spoof at Kim Kardashian Wedding?

April 22, 2014 | By Ashley Baylen
Seth Rogen and James Franco to Perform ‘Bound 2’ Spoof at Kim Kardashian Wedding?

Franco shared some interesting intel about the Kardashian/West wedding on 'The View'.

Read More

More Headlines