WCP puts on a winner

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BY ANGELA HATCHER: Westminster Community Playhouse presents Leslie Darbon’s adaptation of one of Agatha Christie’s most intriguing, mind-bending, and complex whodunits, “A Murder is Announced,” and while the queen of mystery’s modus operandi is the same, the tales are so intricately woven and cleverly crafted that the shocker endings never get old.

BY ANGELA HATCHER: Westminster Community Playhouse presents Leslie Darbon’s adaptation of one of Agatha Christie’s most intriguing, mind-bending, and complex whodunits, “A Murder is Announced,” and while the queen of mystery’s modus operandi is the same, the tales are so intricately woven and cleverly crafted that the shocker endings never get old.

WCP’s production has all the right moves with its detailed mid-century Victorian set design, a well-casted and perfect assemblage of fascinating characters and a production that keeps the audience guessing right to the end.

It all begins when Letitia Blacklock’s (Sarah Hoeven) oldest friend and school chum, Bunny (Maria O’Conner), reads a murder announcement in the local paper. “Letty,” as she is known, and her guests become unnerved when the unsettling announcement indicates that the murder will take place that evening – right there – at Letty’s boarding house.

Is it a mysterious and viable threat, or is it a game? Neighbors and friends show up expecting it to be a game, but then… the lights go out…

Hoeven’s Letty is a stately, calm and in-command sort of woman who is expressive but sensible in times of stress. Hoeven easily grasps the depth of her character’s persona. Letty’s maid, Mitzi (Joylnn Jones-Ibanez), is an over-the-top “Hungarian” maid whose personality and vocal expression can raise a roof.

Jones-Ibanez holds nothing back with her hilarious performance as the boisterous and outspoken Mitzi, and whenever she is on stage, the rest of the colorful show seems to instantaneously fade to black and white.

Inspector Craddook is portrayed by Joel Ray Ibanez, and Ibanez’s outstanding performance is so realistic and convincing that if someone had said he had just arrived from Scotland Yard, no one would question it.

Michael Crumley makes his acting debut as Craddook’s sidekick, Sergeant Mellors. His imposing presence and quiet manner as the Inspector’s serious and dedicated assistant is a fairly good indicator that audiences may be seeing more of Crumley the actor.

Maria O’Conner’s portrayal of Dora Bunner is spot on. O’Conner provides an appealing and endearing tenderness to “Bunny.”

The beloved Miss Marple is portrayed by Laurie Robbins. Robbins captures her character’s spunky manner, amateur sleuth skills, her highly perceptive sense of reason, and her years of experience in studying human nature.

As Miss Marple, Robbins seems as though she would be as comfortable doing a bit of needlepoint as she is cracking an unsolvable case by sensibility and sheer deduction. That’s precisely as Miss Marple may be imagined.

As the suspicions are slowly peeled away, the other must mentions are: Jaylyn Kahle as Julia, Tim Brennas as Patrick, Julie Ray as Phillipa, Suzanne Grady as Clara, Josiah Canto as Edmund and Andrew Orris as Rudy Scherz.

Priscilla Gonzalez gives her skillful direction to the production and keeps the plot moving along while keeping the mystery intact until the very end. There is much to enjoy in this production; there are many twists and turns, and although it is a tad too long, it has all the elements of a great crime mystery, and it is well worth the trip.

 

“A Murder is Announced”

Westminster Community Playhouse

7272 Maple St.

For tickets: 714-893-8626

For info: www.wtcstage.org 

Runs through Oct. 23