The Stagecrafters Mine the Mysteries of CLEVER DICK

by Ginger Agnew

Whodunit? The Stagecrafters Theater attempts to sort out the suspects in CLEVER DICK, with a houseful of eccentric personalities, poisonous drinks, detectives, a maid, a butler, philandering, mugging, and motive. Houseguests galore bring suspicious, sexy, subversive activity to the plot. A young wife, an aging gentleman of the manor, and bumbling detectives from Scotland Yard round out the cast of characters.

Mike Gannon plays The Colonel who sets the scene with a furiously funny fatal physical fall. Opening the production with rapid repartee are the characters of Hannah (Marilyn Leah) and Harold (Drew Seltzer), the maid and butler. This scene is full of fast and furious dialogue and timed to perfection. Leah plays the seemingly clueless, put upon, stressed, and seasoned maid. Hers is not the largest role in the show, but is one of the most enjoyable performances. Seltzer is cunningly cute, fresh faced, and rosy ‘cheeked’, with his activities hidden ‘behind’ his innocence. Seltzer’s portrayal is interesting and fun. Bob Mason is the buxom and brash Berenice. Mason’s performance is unexpected, entertaining, and silly, with gushingly glorious over the top activity. Jim Broyles plays the jittery, crisscross, sexually sinister, husband of Berenice. Broyles uses extensive physical humor to bring his character out. Robert D. Heath and Eric Rupp play Inspector Farcus and Potts respectively. Rupp brings to life the lower sort, with charm, confusion, cleverness, and good cheer. Heath has hound’s-tooth humor highlighting his heroics. Neena Boyle busts onto the scene as Lady Calvarley and uses all of her feminine wiles, mugging her way through the show with an abundant use of décolletage to light her way. Elliott Rotman delivers Charles Appley, as aptly amiable.

The set is elegant, to fit the manor house ideal. A marble fireplace surround, wood archways, fluted columns, steps, doors, and original artwork make for the perfect scene of the crime. Audience giggles, gasps, groans and guffaws assure that the absurdity of the show is finding the funny bone. In order to go for laughs, the show does not call for deep and detailed performances, but rather caricatures. Accents are a bit variable, as some actors slip in and out of the various dialects of Great Britain. For a bit of flirtatious fun, this is a show full of fluff.

by Charles Marowitz
Directed by Catherine Pappas
November 28 – December 14, 2014
The Stagecrafters
8130 Germantown Avenue
Philadelphia, PA 19118

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