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Performing Arts

September 18, 2016
 

A Most Violent Death

The detective and the suspects. From left: Martin French, Erica Goldsmith. George Robert Bailey, Cristina Martin (seated), Niles Welch, Maggie Gardner. Photo by A.S. Waterman

Murder by Shadow: The Ghost of Walewind Castle

Script, Musical Score, and Direction by A.S. Waterman

Review by Keith Waits

Entire contents copyright © 2016 by Keith Waits. All rights reserved.

 

 

Martin French, Erica Goldsmith, Cristina Martin, George Robert Bailey, Niles Welch & Maggie Gardner in Murder by Shadow. Photo courtesy of WhoDunnit.

A.S. Waterman has developed other recurring detective characters in her plays, but Scottish physician Dr. Angus MacCrimmon is her signature creation, her Sherlock Holmes. Murder by Shadow: The Ghost of Walewind Castle is a revival of a previous script, but features a new actor as MacCrimmon.

Murder by Shadow delves into the afterlife and the restless spirits of the departed, which is a recurring theme for the company. Millicent Sayres (Erica Goldsmith), owner of Walewind Castle, a tourist inn in Newport, Rhode Island known for its ghosts, asks MacCrimmon to investigate the disappearance of her most famous spirit, a headless woman who suffered a particularly gruesome and violent death. Before he has even agreed to take the case, the Countess Piroska (Cristina Martin) has exclaimed that Mr. Sayres was murdered 23 years earlier.

So the mystery exists on many levels – catnip to Dr. MacCrimmon, who sets about investigating by questioning the other principals: Millicent’s daughter, Amanda (Maggie Gardner), Bent (Niles Welch), who has worked at Walewind Castle for 75 years, and Commodore Fitch (George Robert Bailey) who owns the nearby Commodore Inn, although he stays at Walewind to woo Millicent and/or Amanda.

The new MacCrimmon is Martin French, who, in spite of his name, is Irish-born. Dialect aside, his MacCrimmon is the second I have experienced, and is decidedly more grounded and working-class than Arthur Patrick Brophy’s bemused, ascetic sophisticate. French brings a cheeky irreverence to the role and looks just bit Chaplinesque in his presence.

The MacCrimmon stories are the most classic mysteries in playwright Waterman’s oeuvre, scenarios filled with suggestive menace and characters that are as requisite eccentric as the traditional form demands. The Commodore and the Countess are especially resonant in their detail and characterizations. George Robert Bailey communicates his pleasure with the role of the Commodore, and it was especially pleasing to see Cristina Martin return to bring the grandiloquent Countess Piroska to life.

Overall, this was a superior WhoDunnit offering featuring a particularly assured cast.

Murder by Shadow: The Ghost of Walewind Castle

September 17 – November 5, 2016

Seating at 6:30 / Show starts at 7:00

WhoDunnit Murder Mystery Theater
At The Downtown Bristol
614 West Main Street
Louisville, KY 40202
whodunnitky.com

 

KeithKeith Waits is a native of Louisville who works at Louisville Visual Art during the days, including being the host of PUBLIC on WXOX-FM 97.1/ ARTxFM.com, but spends most of his evenings indulging his taste for theatre, music and visual arts. His work has appeared in Pure Uncut Candy, TheatreLouisville, and Louisville Mojo. He is now Managing Editor for Arts-Louisville.com.





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