Monday, February 2, 2009


Theatre Review


Springville Center for The Arts

February 1, 2009

* * * Three Stars

Here is a silly private eye romp of murders in a sanitarium. The jokes are often so bad they beg for mercy. The doctor of the sanitarium, for instance, answers an inquisition about the cleansliness of the hospital by proclaiming, "this is a sanitary sanitarium!", and then repeats the line as if pondering the playwright's lack of creativity. A hospital worker enters with a tray of breakfast cereal just as someone announces the murders may be serial murders. This two-act comedy prides itself on being bad, and comes close to collapsing under it's own sardonic weight.

Director Joanne May however, keeps the gumshoe comedy carefully tongue-in-cheek with exaggerated and amusing performances, and often, exceptional comedic timing from the cast of 12, (13 if you count the puppet Howdy Doody). Lead player, gumshoe Harry Monday, (Troy Lester), in a debut performance, carries off the private eye schtick with ease and a cool way of talking out of the side of his mouth, ("it's like this, you see"); Scott Hill, as Dr. Morrissey, is a fine comic player, never fearing to take his bit to outrageous heights while keeping his romp within the confines of the staged silliness; Mike Sharrar, as Larramore Mandrake sweeps the stage with his skilled delivery and timing, and possesses an outstanding singing voice; Pam Morley, as Tara Dallaise, does the sexy femme fatale bit with just enough voluptuous swash and sway. Howdy Doody doesn't move his mouth, while his ventriliquest does. It's a joke, son.

Often this trite takes itself too seriously as if the audience really cares 'who-did-it'. What is most appealing is the sound effect thunder and lightning, lights going off and on, candles being lit, farce-like entrances and exits, and the sheer fun that the cast is having infecting the audience with sometimes undeserved giggles. It all reaches a satisfying conclusion.

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