"The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" gallops to Theatre IV. 

"Hollow" Fills In Nicely

If the prospect of a headless horseman galloping across the stage has you afraid to bring the wee ones to "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow," now playing at the Empire Theatre, you can rest easy. This big-stage adaptation of a Theatre IV touring show stresses frivolity over fear, goofiness over gore. Frantic music and a red-eyed horse certainly make for a spooky climax to this classic tale from Washington Irving. But my underage companions were more scared by the funereal organ music and thunderous lightning effects that started the show.

After that ominous beginning, a light-hearted tone dominates "Sleepy Hollow," epitomized by the show's protagonist, Ichabod Crane (Cliff Todd). The affable but pompous Crane is the new schoolteacher in the late 18th-century New England town of Sleepy Hollow. He is soon captivated by the lovely Katrina Van Tassel (Mandy Tate), who uses Crane's attentions to infuriate her erstwhile suitor, Brom Bones (Mike Hiller).

Todd pulls double duty as the show's director. He wisely focuses on the brains vs. brawn battle between Ichabod and Brom, orchestrating some delightfully funny pratfalls as they try to impress Katrina. Todd's Ichabod is all bluster and pretension, making Hiller's brutish Brom his perfect foil. Tate overcomes a ridiculous boom-ba-da-boom entrance to make Katrina a transparently self-centered coquette.

An entertaining supporting cast moves the hour-long play along swiftly with an energetic James E. Opher generating several laughs in various roles. Designer Gregg Hillmar's set is dominated by a rickety bridge and huge trees that he uses to create an atmosphere alternately sleepy and spooky.

Adults might quibble about its less-than-satisfactory resolution but, for its intended audience, the show offers plenty of enchanting diversions. Only the tiniest of tots will be frightened — most will be charmed — by the cheerful spunk of this "Sleepy Hollow."

"The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" runs through Nov. 7 at Theatre IV's Empire Theatre. Tickets are $14 in advance, $16 on day of show. Call 344-8040 for


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

  • Re: How Jim Crow Codified the Bigotry Already Woven Into the Fabric of Virginia

    • So the Pilot's Maggie has done herself proud. I'm sure she believes this. As SNL's…

    • on September 19, 2017
  • Re: Wild West

    • Same here. I was beat up and bloodied, nose broken, witnessed what looked like a…

    • on September 19, 2017
  • Re: A New Book Aims to Clarify Antifa's True Mission and the Author is Coming to Richmond

    • Foolish anarcho-communist anti-free speech violent "revolutionary" LARPers who paint anyone to the right of Lenin…

    • on September 18, 2017
  • More »
  • Latest in Miscellany

    More by DLHintz

    • One-Woman Wonder

      One-Woman Wonder

      Jill Bari Steinberg climbs to new heights in Theatre Gym's “The Syringa Tree.”
      • Apr 19, 2006
    • True Scrooge

      True Scrooge

      A new Ebenezer helps make Theatre IV's "A Christmas Carol" a distinctive treat.
      • Dec 15, 2004
    • Holiday Hilarity

      Holiday Hilarity

      Richmond Triangle Players hits a home run with a holiday double-header.
      • Nov 24, 2004
    • More »

    Copyright © 2017 Style Weekly
    Richmond's alternative for news, arts, culture and opinion
    All rights reserved
    Powered by Foundation