Inspector Goring (Jean Given), from left, William Gillette (Peter Byrnes) and Felix Geisel (Dave Sayer) listen intently as Madge Geisel offers up an opinion of who a murderer at Gillette’s home may be in The Game’s Afoot (Holmes For The Holidays) running at the Powerhouse Theatre. (Amy Bell photo)

Vernon theatre group scores with murder mystery

Powerhouse Theatre production of the Game’s Afoot takes you on many plot turns and twists

Who doesn’t love a whodunnit?

The Powerhouse Theatre is banking on that premise as it presents the Game’s Afoot (Holmes for the Holidays).

The play, written by Ken Ludwig, won the Mystery Writers of America Edgar Allan Poe Award for Best Play in 2012.

You’ll be able to see why.

The twists, turns and running gags are non-stop in this hilarious mystery, and the cast assembled under the direction of Debra Bob does a masterful job.

Broadway star William Gillette (Peter Byrnes), renowned for his portrayal of Sherlock Holmes in a play he wrote as a starving actor, has invited his fellow cast members — including longtime friend and roommate Felix Geisel (Dave Sayer) and his wife, Madge (Kim Flick) – to visit him at his Connecticut castle for Christmas Eve revelry and exchanging gifts.

This comes as Gillette recovers from being shot in the shoulder while on-stage at his last performance in New York City. But was the bullet really meant for him, or perhaps one of the other cast members?

Also showing up at the mansion are Aggie Wheeler (Ali Balloun) and her new husband, Simon (Brian Atamanchuk), and the woman Gillette shares the home with, his adoring, loving, scattered mother, Martha (Ann Cordingly).

Unbeknownst to the guests, Gillette has also invited renowned newspaper columnist Daria Chase (Julie Drapala), known for play reviews and for stabbing people in the back.

When one of the guests turns up dead, the merriment quickly turns treacherous in comedic fashion.

Gillette steps up to take on the persona of Sherlock Holmes, as he’s done for 20 years on Broadway, to help Inspector Goring (Jean Given) before the next victim appears. Goring appears after a confession phone call from the home to police ends abruptly.

The surviving guests all have their theories as to who committed murder in the mansion, and who tried to kill Gillette on stage.

The scene-stealers are Sayer, in his 26th Powerhouse production, and Drapala, in her Powerhouse debut. They are magnificent and bring such life to their roles.

You’ll laugh at the gags and plot twists, you’ll marvel at the set design created by Cara Nunn (complete with secret passage from bookcase to bar) and you’ll enjoy yourself for two hours as you try to figure out whodunnit.

The Powerhouse Theatre presents The Game’s Afoot (Holmes For The Holidays) Nov. 20-23, 7:30 p.m. nightly, (matinée Nov 24, 2 p.m.) and again Nov. 27-30 (7:30 p.m.). Tickets are $28.50 for adults, $22 for students, $26.50 matinée adult, $22 matinée student). Tickets are available at ticketseller.ca.

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