The talented students in Starr’s Mill High School’s Drama Department are set to perform in Jack Sharkey’s ‘The Murder Room.’
‘The Murder Room’ follows the dastardly plot of one money hungry gold digger, Mavis, played by Katie Ledbetter. She and her lover are suspected of killing her wealthy husband , dgar (Ross Wilcox), but nobody seems to know where the body went to. When Edgar’s idiotic daughter (Shelly Evans) arrives with her fiance (Thomas Olesko/Austin Chardac), they unknowingly complicate Mavis’ plot. As Edgar’s heir attempts to solve the mystery of his disappearance, one interfering housekeeper (Liz Buckalew/Shannon Mehl) and a bumbling detective (Buzz Mobley) get involved and chaos ensues.
The characters throw one-liners and confusing questions back and forth with ease. One of the funniest aspects of the production are the “Who’s on First?” like bits of banter that are sprinkled throughout the comedy.
The play is filled with inept criminals and police officers and stereotypical murder mystery characters, culled from every mystery ever written. Playwright Jack Sharkey combines elements of “The Pink Panther,” “Clue,” “Scooby Doo” and Edgar Allen Poe’s “The Telltale Heart” to create a nonsensical, crazy mystery. With lovably stupid characters, Sharkey hits the audience with everything he’s got, jamming as many laughs as possible in from start to finish.
Starr’s Mill drama department teacher and director of the show, David Spearman, feels the audience will enjoy the rapid-fire dialogue in “The Murder Room.”
“The important thing about this show is the wordplay,” Spearman said. “That’s what really makes it in-your-face funny. ‘The Murder Room’ is a fast-paced farce that includes some sincerely dim witted characters”
The plot is straight out of an Agatha Christie novel – a rich man marries a young woman; the husband disappears; others have motives for murder. One room in the house, the murder room, might hold the key to solving the mystery. Or does it?
“The set is supposed to be an upper-class cottage in the English countryside complete with different tricks and sliding panels,” said senior Brent Brouhiller, set designer for the play . “It’s the stuff of old spooky-house movies.”
“The set, with its hidden rooms and secret panels, is an experience for the actors” added senior Nikki Little, the production’s stage manager. “The stage crew for this production work as hard as the actors to ensure the “special effects” come off efficiently and on cue.”
Disguises, mixed-up identities, trap doors, changing motivations, bumbling policemen and overdone characterizations are all part and parcel of a good farce and “The Murder Room” has them all, and all play a part. Don’t miss this hilarious romp through the murder mystery genre. The show runs through Apr. 30 at 7 p.m. in the school’s auditorium. Tickets are $8 at the door.