Theatre Mirror Reviews - "Postmortem"

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"What Happened in Boston, Willie"


entire contents copyright 2010 by Tony Annicone

"Postmortem"

Reviewed by Tony Annicone

The second show of Community Players 89th season is Ken Ludwig's mystery "Postmortem". It is a mystery set in April, 1922, the cast of William Gillette's latest Broadway revival of "Sherlock Holmes" has assembled for a weekend of relaxation at his magnificent medieval castle overlooking the Connecticut River. For entertainment, Gillette, best known for his thirty year portrayal of Sherlock Holmes, has arranged a seance. Now the scene is set for his greatest role. The show contains sleuthing, rain storm, thunder and lightening, a deathbed letter, gunshots and bottles bashed over the head. Someone is trying to murder Gillette. He suspects it is one of his guests and he plans to solve the case himself-a' la Sherlock Holmes. Gillette must solve the murder of his fiance, Maude one year to the day after her death. The play is a mixture of Conan Doyle and part Agatha Christie. Veteran director Cait Calvo casts her 8 character mystery wonderfully. Her hard working cast is rewarded with many gasps of astonishment along the way at all the twists and turns of the story..

Although the first act takes awhile to set the scene, it ends with mysterious shots in the night. The second act sees more action with the mystery finally unraveling at the end of the show. Emily Varden is the hard working stage manager who keeps the cast on their toes. The splendid two story castle set is by Victor Turrenne with stone work and Maude's portrait by John Ricci while Pam Jackson gathered many authentic 1920 period dresses for the women.. Dan Fisher designed the multitude of sound effects and was supposed to play Bobby in the show but broke his leg accidentally. The lighting is by Mitch Ost. Leading the cast is Michael Thurber who plays William Gillette. He commands the stage as this larger than life character.(He also does a Scottish brouge at the start of the show.) Bruce Church plays Gillette's brother-in-law, Leo Barrett and is Holmes' nemesis Moriarty while Patricia Luca plays his wife, Marian. They have scenes bickering with each other and Marian is jealous of Louise. Sarah Nicklin a gorgeous brunette, plays May Dison, an ingenue with a mind of her own while Tom Lavallee plays Bobby Carlyle, an actor and "man about town". They have many scenes together, keeping the audience on the edge of their seats. Lee Rush is spectacular as Louise Parradine, an exotic, diverse former actress. Lee shows what an excellent character actress is, stealing many a scene. Claire Beauregard returns to the stage in triumph as Gillette's aunt, Lily Warner who dotes on her worried nephew. Her funniest line is when she tells the guests "William liked to put on a dress when he was a boy and I thought he was a transvestite." To reveal any more details would spoil this whodunnit for the audience. So for a whirlwind of intrigue, be sure to catch "Postmortem".

"Postmortem" (22 - 31 January)
THE COMMUNITYY PLAYERS
Jenks Auditorium, Division Street, PAWTUCKET RI
1 (401)726-6860

THE THEATER MIRROR, New England's LIVE Theater Guide

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