April 1st was a perfect date for DCP to open ACCOMPLICE by Rupert Holmes, because each time you think you know what is unfolding in this witty play you find yourself fooled again. Indeed, the audience is swept along on a theatrical thrill ride that rivals the twists and turns of Wildwood’s Great White roller coaster. Just as one has to experience the Great White for oneself, so, too, will a simple description of this play fall far short of what audience members will encounter along the way in this exquisitely deceptive story line. It is for this reason that I find writing this review both difficult and easy at the same time.
The difficulty derives from the fact that there is very little I can divulge without risking giving away some of the surprises that lurk around every turn. As a matter of fact, performances of this play over the past twenty-one years since its Broadway debut in 1990 have concluded with a caution to departing audiences to keep silent regarding their resultant discoveries. So, while I am still marveling at the cleverness of this genuinely suspenseful play and would love to share bits and pieces in this review I can’t think of how that could safely be done.
On the other hand, the easy part of this review is the praise I can give to the fine performances under the direction of Paul Dake. This four-person ensemble features experienced actors who played their parts with a delicate sense of balance between often comedic repartee and smart dialogue featuring a mix of sexual innuendo and easily recognized references to classic murder-mystery plot elements. Bill Algeo, Carl Heyde, Nancy K. Server and Madeline Wynne all proved capable in delivering engaging renditions of their multi-layered character identities. However, at times their generally well-rendered English accents created difficulty in understanding lines even from the front row.
Adding to the fun were the special effects faultlessly handled each step of the way by Carl Mazzacco and R. Cameron Purdy. Kudos must also be given to Alice Beavers Dake and her crew for a very appealing and workable set design, as well as to Valerie Witherington for costumes that provided just the right touch.
For everyone south of the east-west 76 turnpike, the DCP Theatre in Telford, PA may seem a bit off the beaten path. However, the effort made to find one’s way to see a performance of ACCOMPLICE before the end of its run on April 17th is worth taking. It’s great fun, well performed, and offers an experience you will not soon forget. Although, I do have to agree with a comment from an audience member overheard at the play’s conclusion when she said, “this is not a play to which I would take children.”
by Rupert Holmes
Directed by Paul Dake
April 1-17, 2011
795 Ridge Road
Telford, PA 18969