The setting is familiar – a murder has occurred in a desolate English manor house in the early 1900's and there are five suspects who all tell a different version of the death. Who to believe?
Detective Inspector Ruffing has notepad ready to jot down the salient clues but, faced with five opinionated and cagey females, his patience is stretched to the limit.
Which of these gals pushed handsome Patrick down the stairs so he broke his neck? Seems all of them had reason to, and most are eager to confess, but clearly only one did the deed. Author Don Nigro deals happily but non traditionally with the Gothic-thriller genre. With five fiery dames, a spooky mansion, upstairs-downstairs conflict, snow piling up outside, the plot thickens and it sometimes appears the detective himself might be flung down a staircase or two before the night is done.
Scot Renfro is delightful as the baffled but skeptical sleuth; Jessica Marshall-Gardiner is impudently refined as the mysterious governess; Andrea Stradling is pompously lascivious as the Lady of the Manor; Kati Schwartz is wonderfully bratty as her overly imaginative teenage daughter; Deborah Ishida is hilariously inscrutable as the frowsy housekeeper and Jennifer Marion is ingenuously tactless as the blowsy kitchen maid.
Imaginatively directed by Sheridan Cole Crawford with foreground action that keeps the dramatic tension flowing. Clever set by Jim Crawford, lighting by Richard Potthoff, sound by Susan Stangl and costumes by Marie Olivas. Produced by Larry Jones for The Kentwood Players.
At the Westchester Playhouse, 8301 Hindry Ave, Westchester, through October 17. Tickets: (310) 645-5156 or www.kentwoodplayers.org
Photo credit: Larry Jones
Also reviewed in the October issue of NOT BORN YESTERDAY