Theater Review: ‘Ghostbusters: Afterlife’

My first sci-fi event of the year is coming to dinner Thursday night. At Studio Theatre in Arlington, “Ghostbusters: Afterlife” comes to the stage, revisiting the original adventures of the Ghostbusters and the spirit-sensing Ecto-1 in an endlessly watchable mix of sequel and stand-alone.

Director Rebecca Drysdale and the staging of the show are a wonder of what the genre could be if it wasn’t written off by 2016’s ill-conceived “Ghostbusters 3.” Don’t get me wrong: It’s a whole lot of fun. And the cast — Alan Blumenfeld, Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa, Laura Michelle Kelly, Leslie Marcus, Steven Weber, Ronny Cox and Beth Grant — gamely portray the franchise’s squabbles and mix it up with nearly imaginary ghosts. (Or, at least, they all have at least one.)

But the scariest thing I’ve seen at Studio this season is this.

My first question at the performance was, Why did the event take place at Studio rather than on the streets of some trendy neighborhood? That would have been just as cool.

The only other bit of casting could have been more weird. The Daily Beast was reporting the casting of Melanie Lynskey as the film’s skeptical and laugh-out-loud funny first assistant engineer. After a week, I’m happy to report there is not Melanie Lynskey, but Miss Brooklyn Nipple Bar Lip Synch Effers.

From the face to the tongue, the girls are total misfits.

Thus, my second question: Why do they have doggy tails? (All of the above asked if the show takes place in a New York street or a warehouse.)

When I started telling the stage manager about the casting. I presumed he knew the other work, that it was just a personal hobby he picked up on a whim.

He was surprised, he told me, so he’s a little hung up on why the tail. And when we entered the show, and the lights went out, all I could see were a few apparitions and the sound of one of the girls talking to the light. In the background came a bit of rumbling, like a subway train that was coming off the tracks but had fallen into the corner of the room, at which point it took off again.

We were on the ground floor of the same building, on the outside of the subway station.

The lights went back on as we stepped out into the street.

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