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Hide and Seek; Melodrama by Lezley Havard. Directed by Melvin Bernhardt. Starring Elizabeth Ashley.

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"Hide and Seek," at the Belasco Theater, preoccupies itself with two main concerns. Concern No. 1 is the discovery by Jennifer Crawford (Elizabeth Ashley) of a silent little girl playing in the yard outside designer John Lee Beatty's isolated farmhouse into which Jennifer and her husband have just moved. Is the child a waif, an apparition? Is she possessed? Is Jennifer possessed? Concern No. 2 is the discovery by Richard Crawford (David Ackroyd) that his snake-in-the-grass brother (Michael Ayr) is actually the father of the baby Jennifer is soon to bear.

The elements are trickily assembled and the script is reliably performed, under Melvin Bernhardt's direction, by Miss Ashley and colleagues. The trouble seems to be that Mr. Havard has never quite decided what kind of a chilling melodrama he wanted to write. Confusion is definitely afoot. It has to be observed that one scream from a blacked-out cellar and one genuinely scary entrance do not a thriller make.


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