The cast of Murder at the Queen’s Table. Photo – WhoDunnit Murder Mystery Theatre.

Murder at the Queen’s Table

By A.S. Waterman
Directed by Niles T. Welch

Reviewed by Keith Waits.

Entire contents are copyright © 2013 Keith Waits. All rights reserved.

It is typical of WhoDunnit Murder Mystery Theatre shows that when they occur at year’s end, they place their plots in a holiday setting. Murder at the Queen’s Table is something of a departure from this tradition, although the premise is murder most foul just before an Elizabethan Christmas feast. Still, the holiday trappings are largely absent, and the production relies on the inherently festive quality of the period to help make this a suitable offering for the time of year.

After a young woman’s murdered body is discovered, at the Queen’s table no less, members of her court attempt to cover up the crime so as to not unduly upset Her Majesty. She quickly discovers the secret and proceeds to attempt to solve the mystery. Suspects include Crown Prince Elliott (Ben Rogers); Susanna Sutton, a kitchen maid (Makayla Staudenheimer); the Lord Chancellor Masterson (Tom Staudenheimer); Mme de Chaque-Espoir (Morgan Younge); and The Royal Fool (John Collins). The plot provides sufficient cause that even the Queen might fall under suspicion, although her unquestioned authority would allow her to order an execution without resorting to such low methods.

The solution proved sound, with costumes and settings plush enough to satisfy the circumstances and performances that mostly hit the mark. Rebekah L. Dow was appropriately imperious and impenetrable as the Queen, and Morgan Younge sported a lovely purple ensemble and plummy French accent that was noticeably more consistent than some of the other cast. John Collin’s accent as the Fool was also good, and his facetiousness was smartly calculated and distracting in a well-judged manner. Tom Staudenheimer proves once again to be a champion of the table walks engaging the audience; and Makayla Staudenheimer was a lovely leading lady, even if her accent fluctuated considerably. Ben Rogers’ long hair and beard helped him look the part, although his skills as an actor are fledgling.

A.S. Waterman’s script is economical and focused but missing the levels of  subtext that characterize her best work. Still, if lacking in depth, there is plenty to entertain. The trappings and protocols of a royal court are part of the fun, with the Queen only available to patrons willing to approach her table for an audience.

As is common for WhoDunnit productions, this show is double cast, and actors listed here may not appear in all performances.
Murder at the Queen’s Table

Saturdays, November 15-December 21, 2013
And January 4, 2014
Special brunch performance on December 8

Dinner Seating at 6:30pm / Show starts at 7:00pm
Brunch Seating at 11:30am / Show starts at Noon.

WhoDunnit Murder Mystery Theatre
Performing at the Ramada Plaza
9700 Bluegrass Parkway
Louisville, KY 40299