The Game's Afoot... and a ton of laughs!
Last night I saw the final dress rehearsal for The Game's Afoot at the Thomaston Opera House presented by Landmark Community Theatre. This very funny murder mystery romp written by Ken Ludwig is a farcical look at not only Sherlock Holmes but Connecticut's own William Gillette and even takes place at historic Gillette Castle.
I won't delve to deeply into the plot as it's twists and turns are a large part of the plays enjoyment. I will say it involves a small group of people held up in a large castle on Christmas Eve and the solving and committing of several murders and attempted murders. Hilarity and hi jinks ensue.
Directed by Eric Wilczak, who made his directorial debut just last year with Neil Simon's Rumors, It is clear that Mr. Wilczak has a pension for not only comedy but complicated character studies. Each character has their own distinct personality traits and are combined here in a beautiful tapestry of lunacy and conflict.
David Macharelli plays the lead William Gillette with as the straight man in the middle of chaos and is still able to have his moments of comedy, especially when his character begins to actually think he is Sherlock Holmes. Jane Coughlin plays Gillette's mother Martha beautifully, comfortably moving back and forth from innocent motherly figure to crazy lady hoped up on drugs. She also has one of the truly touching moments in the play, high marks to Mrs. Coughlin for making me feel genuinely sorry for her for a brief moment.
Frank Beaudry and Morgan Morse play Felix Geisel and Simon Bright respectively and are truly the comedic highlights of the show. Mr. Morse has easily some of the funniest lines in the play and delivers each with gusto and confidence. Mr. Beaudry steels much of the show with his loud and very realistic reactions to the situations around him, no one can scream and yell on a stage or make you laugh so hard at a simple breath or exasperated reaction quite like him.
Meghan Rickard and Shannon Sniffin play Aggie Wheeler and Madge Geisel respetively and both shine bright in their very different roles. Mrs. Rickard plays the somewhat ditsy blonde for much of the show and does so in a way that you can't help but love her a little. Mrs. Sniffin delivers her many comedic lines in a deadpan fashion that made me laugh out loud every time.
The cast is rounded out by Janice Conner playing the very British Detective Goring in an over the top performance that made me think of what Carol Burnett might have done with such a role. When she is center stage you can't help but ignore everything else that is happening and are mesmerized by her opulent vocals and hypnotic movements.
And last but certainly not least we have Nicole Thomas as the evil, narcissistic, and completely fascinating Daria Chase. She barrels into the play like a ton of bricks and wraps the room around her little finger. Truly a villain you love to hate.
Special mention must be made of the tremendous set design by Mr. Wilczak and Master Carpenter Wes Baldwin and the extraordinary lighting by Dan Checovetes. The one room set is beautifully done with spinning walls, multiple entrances and exits and genuinely looks like it belongs in a castle. The lighting was also superb with excellent lightning effects and many other small touches that add indefinitely to the the mood and atmosphere.
It was great to see something new and interesting from the local theare community and I hope to see everyone involved in this production in the future.
The Game's Afoot is highly recommended.
The Game's Afoot is Showing at the Thomaston Opera House on February 15, 21 & 22 @ 8:00 PM and February 16 & 23 @ 2:00 PM
Tickets: Adults $23.50 Students/Seniors $19.50
In the photo from left to right, Shannon Sniffin, Frank Beaurdy, David Macharelli, Jane Coughlin, Meghan Rickard and Morgan Morse.
Who's you're favorite fictional detective?
Image Credit, Image Courtesy of Erin Drew
About The Author
Maximilian Tieman is a lifelong Torrington resident and has been a film buff since his mother brought him to the movies as a child. He is a graphic designer and print specialist and manages the Franklin Print Shoppe in downtown Torrington.
Special thanks to Torrington's Digiplex Destinations.