Theatre Mirror Reviews - "Noir Pointblank"

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"What Happened in Boston, Willie"


entire contents copyright 2000 by Tony Annicone

"Noir Pointblank"

Tony Annicone

"Noir Pointblank" is the latest show at City Nights Dinner Theatre. It is an interactive murder mystery about characters in a nightclub (think Casablanca) on a tropical island trying to find a sunken World War II submarine loaded with plundered art and gold from World War II. A sequel to "Murder at the Cafe Noir", the show is a comic tribute to the Humphrey Bogart movies of the 1940's. The Bogart-styled detective, Rick Archer(Sonny Dufault) owns this nightclub containing 10 other assorted charcters played by six other performers. The sinister, Anthony Cairo (Norm Hassinger), the evil British brother and sister, Ben and Maureen Temple (Wayne Hawkins and Diane Palmisciano), the sexy nightclub songstress, Sydney Trevor (Sue Staniunas), the French historian, Jean Dijon (Beth Jepson),the US hoodlum, Edward G. Steinberg (Wayne), NYC detective, Sam Lyric (Paul Oliver), Island Sgt. Joanne Instone (Beth), Rick's gorgeous girlfriend, Sheila Wonderly (Diane) and the bumbling British inspector Rigfield (Wayne). These are the characters that lead the audience on a comic romp with a couple of musical numbers thrown in to the murder mystery to keep everyone guessing whodunnit till the end of the show.

Sonny Dufault does an excellent portrayal of Rick. His Bogart voice and mannerisms are perfect. His interaction with the audience is brilliant whether he is asking them questions or whether he is just delivering his lines. Sonny is a master of different voices and accents. He does a superb job in both comic and dramatic roles. Sonny keeps the action moving during all his scenes with the others.It is always a pleasure to see this talented man on stage and this show is no exception. Great job as usual!

Norm Hassinger brings the role of Cairo to life with his Peter Loree accent. The scar on his face completed his performance as the henchman on the island. Who does he really work for the good or the bad guys? Norm's smarmy portrayl of this man kept the audience guessing all night. Nice job with this sinister and cryptic role.

Diane Palmisciano plays dual roles in this show and makes each one different from the other.She plays the evil Maureen with a British accent and her reactions during the song "Come Clean" are hilarious. As the beautiful Sheila she has a Southern one and she maintains the accents throughout. Diane is very strong will woman in her Sheila role standing up to an evil character with her line delivery and by slapping him three times. She makes Sheila a spitfire and not anyone to be messed with. Great job in her dual roles.

Veteran actress Sue Staniunas plays her role of Sydney like Mae West. Her vampy performance is outstanding. Sue also has a funny song about aces during a card game. The hysterical part is she is singing about the cards in one of the players hands helping the other one cheat. Sue always gives all her roles 100% and this one is no exception. Great job as the sexy seductress. Another longtime actress Beth Jepson returns to the stage in two diferent type roles. She plays the very French historian, Jean Dijon who is maybe too interested in the history of the island as well as the police Sgt. Joanne Instone the island cop who does things by the book. Beth is always a joy to watch on stage and she plays both of her characters wonderfully in this show, too.. Welcome back!

Paul Oliver captures the essence of the police detective Sam Lyric perfectly. His lowered voice, his hard boiled glares and his song delivery are right on target. His song about coming clean after someone has been shot is outrageously funny. Paul tap dances as the person is taking their last breath. What a hoot. His comments to the audience are also well done, Great job as the fanatical New York cop who lets a protection witness get killed while he is busy with a dame.

Last but not least is Wayne Alan Hawkins playing three seperate characters. This man is a whirling dervish in this show going from one part to another with ease. He plays the Edward G. Robinson gangster role to perfection with both the voice and perpetual scowl and sneer on his face. The evil British character of Ben is well done and the cockney inspector is a hoot as he bumblingly solves the mystery. Wayne always delivers a fabulous perfomance and these three roles are no exception either.

Director David Jepson using every part of the building and making all eleven roles in the show varied, delivers the goods in this audience participation show. He has the actors go from table to table during the crime solving segment and makes the action move so the audience is always involved in every scene. The lighting in this show is very important as they move from playing area to playing area. Kyle Peltier does an outstanding job of lighting the scenes at all the right times. He always does great work on the lighting and sound. So all you mystery buffs out there go see "Noir Pointblank" and see if you can solve the crime.

"Noir Pointblank" (till 1 October)
CITY NIGHTS DINNER THEATRE
27 Exchange Street, PAWTUCKET, RHODE ISLAND
1(401) 723-6060


THE THEATER MIRROR, New England's LIVE Theater Guide

| MARQUEE | USHER | SEATS | INTERMISSION | CURTAIN |