Directed by Karen Pritchard of Garden City, the show, which won the Mystery Writers of America Edgar Allen Poe Award for best play in 2012, is a farce as well as a mystery/thriller.
Set in 1936, Broadway star William Gillette, who has made a career of playing Sherlock Holmes, invites his castmates to a weekend getaway party. However, when one of the guests is murdered, the weekend takes a decidedly dangerous turn.
The cast includes Duane DiFranco of Plymouth as William Gillette, Sue Deloiser of Lincoln Park as Martha Gillette, Chris Warnke of Wyandotte as Felix Geisel, Rebecca Hermen of Dearborn as Madge Geisel, Dominic Valentini of Livonia as Simon Bright, Mei-Lin Wong of Livonia as Aggie Wheeler, David Wood of Dearborn as Inspector Goring and Kori Bielaniec of Westland as Daria Chase.
Pritchard said the show is full of laughter, suspense and surprises.
“Who doesn’t love a good mystery?” she said. “This play has a lot of clues in it, which I hope gets the audience talking during intermission, making it a shared event.”
DiFranco said he hopes audiences have fun.
“I hope we make them laugh,” he said. “There is something for every taste, from sight gags to situational schtick, from believable character foibles to unbelievable farce.”
DiFranco said there are also some hidden messages for those wishing to look for them.
“It’s been hard to keep the plot secret from my family, but I’ve had to keep it all secret for their sake,” he said. “There are just too many twists and turns, and I don’t want to spoil any of them.”
Bielaniec said figuring out who did what to whom is a fun ride for audiences.
“It’s simple, but the whodunnit is not immediately apparent, with an attempt made on one character and another taken out,” she said.
Wong said audiences will have fun trying to solve the mystery.
“I hope they can forget about real life for a while and immerse themselves in this period, these aloof and silly characters and our very murderous story,” she said.
Valentini said the story will keep people guessing until the very end.
“If you are observant, maybe you can deduce the mystery yourself,” he said. “Or you can just enjoy the ride.”
Hermen said there are some Holmesian and Shakespearean bits scattered throughout to keep audience interest piqued.
“It is at heart a mystery and there are clues scattered throughout the show,” she said.
Hermen, a librarian, said she has read all of the Sherlock Holmes stories and said her husband is a big fan.
“I don’t have a favorite, though,” she said. “I have always been more into Agatha Christie.”
DiFranco and Valentini, however, are big fans of Sherlock Holmes, and Wong said it is fun seeing DiFranco bring Holmes to life.
“This story is not explicitly a Holmes story but a Holmes-esque tale, filled with references and similar twists,” she said. “It’s OK to step away from religiously sticking to the classic Holmes tropes, characters and settings.”
Wong said it has been challenging to interest people in the show without giving away any spoilers.
“There’s no point in doing a murder mystery unless the audience is completely blindsided at the end,” she said. “The most fulfilling part is just doing these characters and their stories justice, and bringing to life their tangled relationships, which has been both a challenge and a pleasure.”
Showtimes are 8 p.m. Nov.11, 12, 18, 19, 25 and 26 and 2:30 p.m. Nov. 13, 20 and 27 at the Players Guild of Dearborn, 21730 Madison in Dearborn.
Tickets are $20, and are available by calling 313-561-TKTS or online at playersguildofdearborn.org.
SCP PRESENTS ‘ANNE OF GREEN GABLES’
Southgate Community Players present “Anne of Green Gables” at 7 p.m. Nov. 11, 12, 18 and 19 at the SCP Corner Playhouse, 12671 Dix-Toledo Road in Southgate.
In a dramatization of the beloved story, high-spirited, red-haired orphan Anne Shirley is sent to live with Matthew and Marilla Cuthbert, who had wanted a boy to help them work on their farm. While they initially intend to send Anne back to the orphanage, they ultimately discover that Green Gables is meant to be her home as she finds a place in their lives and hearts.
Directed by Jema McCardell, the cast includes Esther Crock as Anne Shirley, Cori Carr as Marilla Cuthbert, Chuck Ingram as Matthew Cuthbert, Katelynn Strozeski as Diana Berry, Emmet Carr as Gilbert Blythe, Ashley Somers as Mrs. Barry, Megan Cuthbert as Rachel Lynde and Mrs. Blewett and Devin McCardell as the stationmaster, Mr. Phillips and the doctor.
Tickets are $15, with a $2 discount for students and seniors. To order online, go to showtix4u.com/event-details/67093.
WSU PERFORMS SHAKESPEARE’S ‘THE MERRY WIVES OF WINDSOR’
Theatre and Dance at Wayne State University presents Shakespeare’s “The Merry Wives of Windsor” Nov. 11 to 20 at the Hilberry Theater.
The comedic romp features Sir John Falstaff, who is out for fun and frolicking, and whose pursuit of multiple women at once causes them to team up to teach the cad a lesson.
Show times are 8 p.m. Nov. 11, 12, 18 and 19; 2 p.m. Nov. 12, 16 and 19; 7 p.m. Nov. 17 and 3 p.m. Nov. 20 at the theater, 4743 Cass Ave. in Detroit.
To order tickets online, go to theatreanddance.wayne.edu.