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    Don your deerstalker and grab your magnifying glass, it’s time for The Game’s Afoot at Derby Dinner Playhouse! Set in the 1930s, The Game’s Afoot follows the story of Broadway star William Gillette. Based on a real person, Gillette’s fame stems from his stage portrayal of the extremely popular character Sherlock Holmes. After an attempt on his life, Gillette invites some of his fellow actors to his home, a castle in Connecticut, for a Christmas celebration, but he has an ulterior motive. Much like his character, Gillette is using the party as a ruse while he tries to solve the case of who tried to kill him; however, the night takes a very different turn after one of the party guests is murdered.

    Watching this play was like watching a murder mystery dinner party without having to participate and with much better acting, sets, and costumes. I am always amazed at what Derby Dinner is able to accomplish with such limited stage space, backstage space, and set changes. It is truly a testament to the actor’s craft and to the Derby Dinner staff that the audience completely imagines the rest of the set (in this case, the mansion’s other rooms) without realizing it. I love a good mystery, and, even though the ending was somewhat predictable, there is a funny little twist perfectly timed and carried out by the actors.

    Brian Bowman, who played the main character William Gillette, characterized exactly what you’d expect from a 1930s stage actor. He reminded me of Taran Killam from Saturday Night Live, which worked well for the comedic relief scenes and witty one-liners. Rita Thomas played Martha Gillette, William’s mother. She truly shined in this role, executing her funny quips with joy and ease. David Myers and Tina Jo Wallace played Felix and Madge Geisel, a happy-to-be-unhappy married couple. Their relationship was completely believable and hilarious. Zachary Burrell and Joey Banigan perfectly played struggling, awkward newlyweds Simon Bright and Aggie Wheeler. Janet Essenpreis played Daria Chase, a bold reporter known for ruining careers with her bad reviews. I chuckled at the irony once or twice during the show, knowing that I would be reviewing her performance when I got home. Not to worry, Essenpreis' character was absolutely rotten, and it was fabulous! Last but certainly not least, Elizabeth Loos played Inspector Goring, a strange and eccentric policewoman. This role seemed to be written just for her.

    The Game’s Afoot runs until November 16th.  Tickets range in price from $36 to $45 depending on the day and time of the show. Remember, the ticket price includes a delicious salad bar and buffet, so don’t eat beforehand! For more information about The Game’s Afoot, and Derby Dinner’s other plays, click here or call the ticket office at 812.288.8281. If you love mysteries, it's elementary! You must see this play!

    Jenna Foster's picture

    About Jenna Foster

    Hi! My name is Jenna. I am a music teacher at a primary school. I love teaching because you get to feel like a rockstar without all the fuss of being famous. My hobbies include cosplay, reading, music, traveling, and collecting vintage clothes and records.

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