Entire Contents copyright 1998 by Don Gillis
Mumm's The Word
Step Out to a live jazz trio - Step into a 30's gangster movie
Directed by Bert Cayer, Jr.
Executive Producer/Assistant Director
Nicole M. Labonte
Jim Whittaker, Jennifer Valentine
Evelyn Ness.............Laurence Cagle
Taps........Michael Gregory Johnson
Speakeasy.....James Edward Kelley
Queenie............ Nicole M. Labonte
Mugsy................Greg M. PetitBon
Lilith...................... Amy Thompson
Big Sol..Carmine...... "CAP" Rego
This musical mystery is a you-solve-it-who-dunnit that involves the entire audience to participate in the "activities" that occur at the Mumm's Club, a speakeasy in New York City in February, 1929 during the tenure of the prohibition, and the night after the St. Valentine's Day massacre. The club, owned by Speakeasy , played by James Edward Kelley is purported to be a favorite with New York's biggest gang leaders and bootleggers. His sidekick, Mugsy, played by Greg M. PetitBon interprets all of SpeakEasys dialogue to the other characters, because he whispers every line to him!.
It was fun to watch, as Mugsy would put his ear up to listen to what Speakeasy was saying, then (after a long time) turn and say one or two words! As I left the theatre James Kelley must have still been in character because I had to say to him..you can speak, can't you? He said "Yes". I wondered to myself...how long did it take him to memorize his lines?. Each "character" in the club has his own spotlight so to speak.
There is Taps, the Emcee of the club, played by Michael Gregory Johnson. Michael has an enjoyable time singing "HARLEM IS HOME TO ME" and does a tap number to it. He is fun to watch --he has such rib tickling facial expressions. And his scenes with the gangsters are hilarious.
Taps, also has a girlfriend called Legs, played by Heather Davis. Her scenes with Taps were fun to watch .. she is constantly putting him down. Heather looked stunning in her black dress! Her musical number, "I'M WILD" was very enjoyable!.
Then, there was Queenie , played by Nicole M. Labonte (who also is responsible for the choreography) sings a blues number "MAYBE LOVE IS FOR ME". Her boyfriend is Big Sol, played by Carmine "CAP" Rego who resembles a gangster just by his appearance.
Then there is Lilith, the hit woman, played by Amy Thompson. Amy had some great musical numbers, like "MURDER TO GO"and "AIN'T MISBEHAVIN", which she sang very well!
Rounding out the cast was Evelyn Ness (yes Evelyn) played by Laurence Cagle, the "fed" who attempts to solve the mystery. Cagle plays the part just like Eliot Ness, with the accent and all!
"What mystery", you are saying, right? Well, this fast paced spoof of a comedy-musical focuses on who murdered SpeakEasy--owner of the club. Speak gets 6 bullets pumped into him when all the lights are out and everyone is on stage....so the audience is then part of the "cast'. The characters are all blaming each other, and go into the audience to plant the seed of doubt into each audience member's head as to who the murderer may be. It was great fun to be part of the action . I was approached by each cast member, who wanted me to know who he/she thought murdered SpeakEasy.
The show continues with Cagle distributing a "Sleuth Sheet" to the audience...with the six characters who may have "dunit"...Queenie, Legs, Mugsy, Big Sol, Taps, or Lilith. The audience then writes down who they think "done it" and why...and submits it back to Cagle. He then comes back at the end of the show (when we find out who the murderer really is).
The person that correctly identifies the murderer receives a free dinner and show compliments of Chuck PetitBon, Executive Producer, and Assistant Director........and master cook. The food was delicious...chicken with gravy, oven baked potatoes, salad, mixed veggies, coffee, and dessert.
This is an "ensemble" piece of work, ably directed by Bert Cayer Jr. Mr. Cayer has the knack for murder and mysteries. I last saw him play the killer in "Ten Little Indians" for The Community Players of Pawtucket, and he was terrific. His direction and overall attention to detail was evident. One impressive note was that not one of the cast went out of character.. and that was not easy. I am sure Bert was responsible for that. Great job, Bert.
So, who dun-it? I'm not at liberty to say because the "gangsters" would pump 6 bullets in me if I revealed the ending....so I suggest that you make your reservation for a great night out.! You need a secret password to enter........what do you think the word is??
Dinner and show are at 7:30 p.m. Fridays- & Saturdays and 1 p.m. on Sundays. Reservations are required. Call 724-5658. July 3 - August 2, 1998
Mill River Dinner Theater (till 2 August)
The Polonaise, 499 High Street, CENTRAL FALLS, RHODE ISLAND
1 (401) 724-5658