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Thursday, February 16, 2012

Dinner and a Mystery? Whodunnit Welcomes New, Recurring Character in "Reflections..."

Reflections: Murder in a Hall of Mirrors

Written & directed by A. S. Waterman

Reviewed by Keith Waits.

Entire contents are copyright © 2012 Keith Waits. All rights reserved. 

Pictured left to right: Erica Goldsmith, Niles Welch,
Brian Kennedy, Teresa Wentzel, Jane Mattingly,
Graham Bell & Craig Nolan Highley in
Reflections: Murder in a Hall of Mirrors.
Photo courtesy of WhoDunnit Murder Mystery Theatre.

If you cross Perry Mason with Nancy Drew, the result might be Morgan Farewell, the new heroine of the latest WhoDunnit Murder Mystery Theatre production, Reflections: Murder in a Hall of Mirrors. Recently relocated to Rhode Island from San Francisco, the new Assistant District Attorney has inherited a doozy of a case, one that would appear to be a slam-dunk: the prosecution of the clearly insane Otto Bales for the murder of his son-in-law.

As played by Jane Mattingly, the spunky gamine public servant is deceptive: seemingly disorganized and inexperienced, she is actually equipped with a keen mind and gift for observation that allows her to discover the truth behind what everyone else sees as an open-and-shut case. It is a promising debut for a character intended to return each season in a new mystery, and this inaugural entry suggests mysteries about the character that we must assume will be explored in future chapters.

The rest of the cast is mostly satisfactory, and in a few instances more than that. Niles Welch exhibits mischief and delight as Otto Bales, and once again displays a knack for playing mentally damaged characters. Graham Bell is relentlessly annoying as Cal Carlson, an unscrupulous con game who can never put down his cell phone; while Teresa Wentzel was imperious as the Judge in the case who has more to tell us than this script will reveal. Brian Kennedy was an energetic defense attorney, although his attempt at an appropriate New England accent never could settle down. I liked John Collins’ work very much, essaying a shifty personality for the brother of the victim; and Erica Goldsmith was a sexy, slutty delight as the opportunist who appears to be sleeping her way through the male characters wrapped in this intrigue. Special commendation for Ms. Goldsmith’s continuing facility with accents, which in this production she is allowed to add a consistently rendered Russian dialect.

The courtroom setting is, of course, inherently dramatic but also works as an effective framework for the action in the long, horizontal space that WhoDunnit usually occupies in the Hyatt Regency.   The “stage” contains the set, but the action is effectively carried out into the dining tables, with characters occupying seats among the guests throughout the evening.

Witty and engaging, this is another winner from a company with a sure understanding of what it does well and, apparently, a successful approach to finding an audience, as its opening night performance was sold out.

Editor’s Note: WhoDunnit roles are double-cast to accommodate their particular schedule, and some actors mentioned here may not be appearing when you attend.

Reflections: Murder in a Hall of Mirrors


February 11 – March 31, 2012
Seating at 6:30 / Show starts at 7:00
WhoDunnit Murder Mystery Theatre
Performing at the Hyatt Downtown
320 West Jefferson Street
Louisville, KY 40202

http://www.whodunnitky.com/





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