Reviewed by Tony Annicone
Whodunnit's latest show, "Fashion Show at the Castle of Blood" is an ideal murder mystery for Halloween audiences. It is full of campy fun characters from old horror shows, including "The Munsters" and "Young Frankenstein". The eight member cast and director/producer/author, Ann Waterman, delight the audience with wonderful comic characters, mysterious happenings and cute musical numbers. The audience is encouraged to dress up in costumes to join in the fashion show with the performers to bring this show to its merry conclusion.
The Burnside mansion is the site of this show. Fern Rouleau plays Buffy Burnside, a madcap heiress who loves fashion and is devoted to her "Young Frankenstein" type husband, Biff played wonderfully by Steve Ruggieri. You can't understand him most of the time as he mumbles and grumbles his lines in character but both Fern and Steve deliver a gorgeous rendition of "Memory" near the end of the night leaving the audience moved by their wonderful voices as they sing of their tragedy. Both performers do a great job with their leading roles.
Two of the biggest scene stealers in the show are the very British snobby, Pepper played by Molly Lederer and the Frau Brucker character, Mrs. Castle played by Paula Faber. Molly, a pretty redhead, wears a black pageboy wig, a tight red dress with a padded rump and makes her character soar with her facial expressions and interactions with the audience. She eats people's dessert, drinks their water and maintains her character throughout the whole evening. She uses her fantastic singing voice in a song about her fashion show using the melody of "Begin the Beguine". Paula plays her role while walking sideways all night long because as Mrs. Castle, she is the rook in the game of chess. She delivers her lines in a stern manner invoking many laughs as she utters them. What a hoot.
The other talented cast members include a doctor, the designing assistant and the Burnside children. Dr. Van Pires is played by J Schaefer with a Transylvannia accent. He makes many malpropisms during the show and is dressed all in black. J sings as the cast prances about in the Halloween fashion show to "Puttin On The Ritz" with new words to fit the holiday spirit. Steve's daughter, Tara plays the Southern belle, Mary Lou Wray. She is a designer who is used by the egotistical, Pepper.Tara has a great accent and she not only is making her debut with Whodunnit but plays her role very well. The two naughty Burnside children are played by Shaun McWilliams and Emily Farley. They handle the two pranksters very well and help deliver the goods when the time is right. The closing song, a takeoff on "Strangers in the Night" called "Vampires in the Night brings the show to a satisfying ending for the audience. So for a fun filled night of Halloween hilarity call Ann Waterman to see this show. (The delicious meal choices at the Crown Plaza are boneless breast of chicken, baked scrod, vegerarian lasagna and roasted top sirloin of beef and the entrees are served buffet style at the Radisson.)