Driftwood Players: ‘Something’s Afoot” a comedic whodunit

By Jesse Blair | Sep 21, 2018
Courtesy of: Katie Soulé Driftwood Michael Byron-Ingersoll is Col. Gillweather and Teri Lee Thomas is Miss Tweed in Driftwood Players’ “Something’s Afoot.”

Edmonds Driftwood Players kicked off its 60th season with the musical comedy-mystery “Something’s Afoot” – a lighthearted, goofy, well-choreographed display of how 10 unlucky souls meet their untimely demise in an isolated, countryside estate in 1930s England.

The story begins when estate owner Lord Dudley Rancour is declared murdered after a number of guests arrive at his house. One by one the guest list begins to dwindle, leaving the characters and audience guessing on the perpetrator.

The colorful characters and the way the victims fall reminded me of the board game Clue, where players must be wary of any sort of household object that may jump on you and bite like a hungry predator.

As is common in the mystery “who-did-it” genre, contestants soon suspect one another as being the mastermind behind this murder spree.

Mark Press returns to Driftwood as the musical director, leading a small band in several entertaining and uplifting numbers that bring the production a welcomed boost of energy. If you enjoyed the music in Driftwood’s springtime production of “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels,” you’ll enjoy these witty, jazzy, Broadway-style selections.

Technical director Rick Wright also provides some onstage magic, creating intense lightning storms, a spearhead that transforms into a homicidal Pac-Man, and a creepy vinyl recording of an old man that sounded like something from Disneyland’s “A Haunted Mansion.”

While no particular characters are heavily emphasized as the male and female leads, Geoffrey (Gabriel Ponce) and Hope (Laura McFarlane) had the most stage time, as star-crossed lovers who made the most of their passionate, albeit brief, relationship.

Ponce uses physical comedy to strike poses and push bodies offstage while holding his own with song and dance numbers. McFarlane fills the room with a pleasing vocal and dance performance, as well as serving as the dance captain for the production.

Emily Swanby turns in a notable performance as the housemaid Lettie. She never did quite finish her last task of serving tea, but something was sure afoot as she left a single shoe behind after passing on in messy fashion.

Michael Bryon-Ingersoll provides a memorably funny showing as an old colonel who really didn’t have the same feelings for Lady Grace (Dorothy Rosenthal Pierce) as she pretended she had for him in the musical number “The Man with the Ginger Moustache.”

When it was his time to go, he takes it well as a longtime British officer should, even timing his demise close to the last second.

The set pieces of the interior of Rancour’s estate are impressive. The walls and staircase are rustic and covered with a rich stain. A large portrait of Lord Rancour hangs on the wall as he oversees the bloodbath from beyond the grave, and the house itself comes to life like it was possessed.

Some of the nonmusical numbers seemed a bit long and the countryside English accents of the characters sometimes boarded on shrill, but director Scot Charles Anderson is able to produce a good pattern of dance, song, and special effects to move this lighthearted and fun murder mystery to a satisfying conclusion.


“Something’s Afoot”

Where: Wade James Theater, 950 Main St., Edmonds
When: Through Sept. 30. 8 p.m. Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays, 2 p.m. Sundays
Tickets:  $28, $25 for seniors, youth and military. Group rates are available for 10-plus tickets purchased in a single transaction.
Information: www.edmondsdriftwoodplayers.org, 425-774-9600

 

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