Detective story, murder mystery buffs and Agatha Christie fans in particular should enjoy this well appointed Miss Marple whodunnit classic. A notice in the Chipping Cleghorn Gazette announces that a murder will take place on a certain date at a specific time at Little Paddocks, a boarding house owned by Letitia Blacklock (competently played by Linda Walsh!). The current guests at Little Paddocks, Mrs. Blacklock’s two young cousins, her dearest but daft friend, a mysterious widow lodger, and her kooky Russian cook are a bit unsettled and unsure of what to make of the village newspaper message. When curious locals join the residents at Little Paddocks on the appointed night to see what may happen, tension mounts, culminating in mayhem and murder! A challenging cluster of clues is carefully laid before the audience for consideration…
The cast brought their Christie characters out very nicely, to the delight of the audience, and smoothed out any opening night edges quite deftly. An interesting array of roles, including Dora, or “Bunny” Bunner (given exquisite expression by Sarah LeClair) Mrs. Blacklock’s foggy minded friend, Mitzi (hilariously done by Leah Stern), the maniac housemaid, the recurring Inspector Craddock (nicely portrayed by Bob DeMarco) and of course the adorable Miss Marple (well honed by Lisa Harner), who is more apt than she appears, along with mixed motives, secret identities and twists, some campy moments and a bit of romance make for a wonderfully entertaining time.
Set in Mrs. Blacklock’s beautifully furnished Victorian style drawing room, which had once been two separate rooms, replete with crystal chandelier, and lots of other lovely details which are fun for the eye to explore, one is immediately drawn into the mood of the show (Caris Baliles, Set Design). An assortment of nifty costumes also to this effect (Alexis Leigh Ross, Costume Design). Some gunshot effects, stage screams and a blackout at one point in show also create a bit of a stir as all waited for the lights to come back up to see what happened (Brad James, Lighting Design).
Maneuver through the maze of clues, catch a couple of red herrings, match wits with Miss Marple to discover who the perpetrator is, or simply enjoy as the drama unfolds; Opening night’s audience at DCP certainly did!
A MURDER IS ANNOUNCED
Written by Agatha Christie
Stage Adaptation by Leslie Darbon
Directed by James Kirkwood
April 12 – 27, 2013
Dutch Country Players
795 Ridge Road
Telford, PA 18969