Reviewed by Tony Annicone
Whodunnit's latest murder mystery is "Murder in the Court II: Retribution". Private detective Emery Pierce is put on trial for the murder of a famous female newscaster. Is he being framed or did he commit the crime? Author Ann Waterman writes a witty and clever mystery script with expert direction by J Schaefer who also plays the suspect on trial. He and the eight other performers pull off this intriguing show with well drawn characterizations which keeps the audience guessing until the final moment to figure out whodunnit.
Ann adds a parrot into the mix of characters in the show giving it some humorous moments and leading to some interesting information for the jurors. Her colorful people include Emery's ex-girlfriend Rebecca Chandler, a private investigator, defense attorney, Edwin Meeks, the corrupt judge, Skyler Stern, the donut eating detective John Steadman, officer Frances Francis, DA Evan Landry, key witness, semi-deaf senior citizen, Mrs.Zoe Zawatsky and the fast talking BaIliff. They are played wondeerfully by this talented cast and J has them so clearly defined you can easily tell who's who. A sparklling presentation plus an excellent dinner to cap it all off.
J plays the part of the framed or is he, Emery beautifully. He gives him the nuances and delivery to pull off this leading role. The pouring of water into a glass disrupting the court room is a comic gem of takes and double takes. Great job as actor/director/producer. J is ably assisted by Deb McGowan who also choreographs the three vocal numbers also wriiten by Ann and performed by the ensemble. Very funny! Deb also plays the cunning judge. She handles her role with ease and interacts very well with the audience and the other actors in the show. Another person with a lot of personality is George Billings who plays the DA. He has a tremendous amount of legal lines and makes them flow effortlessly off his tongue as if he was a real life attorney. George putsa tremendous amount of meaning into his lines. Great job in a difficult role. Niles Welch is at home in his defense attorney role having played the same part in the first Murder in the Court. He and Greta Marszalkowski as Chandler know their characters from the past and bring these familiar roles to life. Greta is a pretty blond with a great singing voice who fits her smart aleck part to a tee.
Steve Oliveira is a hoot as the tough talking Steadman. He bullies his way to the jurors while he chomps on a donut. Steadman want the audience to help convict Emery. Steve delivers his lines with a slight Brooklyn accent making maganum a three syllable word. He also calls Emery, Jacques Cousteau during the water glass scene leading to many laughs. Another scene stealer is Karen Dansereau as the elderly Mrs. Zawatsky, the building owner who is also the building security person. Her black stockings and her stooped over walk as well as the senile like looks and expressions are hysterical. Karen makes the lines about the old lady's medicines laugh out loud moments. Great job playing a much older person. (Karen is in college) Kelly Milner plays the officer at the scene of the crime. Her name is Frances Francis leading to many looks of surprise from the others in the show. Kelly handles the part very well. Last but not least is the fast talking bailiff, Emily Farley who makes the swearing in of the witnesses very comical.
The show at Eileen Darlings at the Ramada is presented with a fantastic and delicious dinner of chicken rice soup, salad, your choice of stuffed breast of chicken, pasta primavera, roast beef, or schrod with baked potato, carrots and string beans with apple pie ala mode for dessert. So for a superb murder mystery dinner theater presentation run to Whodunnit's latest show. You won't be sorry you did.