Reviewed by Joseph Michael Mishler
The Clio Cast and Crew’s production of Ken Ludwig’s The Game’s A Foot or Holmes for the Holidays, although set at Christmas, was a great Valentine’s Day gift to Friday night’s theatre goers. If you’re looking for good comedy, you will like this production.
Ludwig’s play is full of twists and turns and more. He is a master of comedy. The play starts out with an actor being shot on stage who then goes to his mansion in a remote area to recover. While there, he hosts a Christmas gathering of actors. One surprise attendee is a theatre critic, who at one time or another has had relationships with more than one of the actors. She has trashed them all in reviews, and she is killed at the end of Act One.
The injured host, William Gillette (Justin Wetenhall) fancies himself to be Sherlock Holmes. Wetenhall was convincing in this role. The scene with the body and trying to hide it was well done. He and Shane Wachowicz as his long time friend Felix Geisel were well matched.
The scenes with Gillette and the female Detective Inspector Goring (Susanne Goettel Helfrich) were a lot of fun. She reminded me of Columbo. In spite of her ditzyness, she did manage to really put things together.
Aggie Wheeler (Jessi Jeane) and her husband Simon Bright (Gil Hall) were also well matched. He was over the top and quite the drama queen, and she was Miss Perfect in theory.
Drama critic Daria Chase as played by Rebecca Norris, was very convincing. From her entrance until after her death, she was in control of the mansion as she managed to bully everyone equally. The séance scene was a hoot.
Martha Gillette, played by Sandra Turner, was William’s mother. Her costumes were different. She managed to create tension and gave a strong performance. She ended the play with a line that was not in the script when she tripped over the fireplace poker and said, “We didn’t need a poker to kill the critic,” or something to that effect. That line brought the house down and ended the play.
A tip of the hat to the two cops who made their entrance eating donuts, a nice touch.
Director William Kircher and his assistant Jim Waner put together a good cast. The sound effects were excellent. Storm effects were scary and quite effective, but the female costumes were not accurate for the period. The set was well done and well used by the actors.
Comedy requires good timing. While the first act had some minor timing and spontaneity issues, the second act turned around as there was a lot of action and they moved the play right along. I am not going to give away who did it; you have to go see the play if you want to know what happened.
I heartily recommend Clio Cast and Crew’s production of Ludwig’s The Game’s Afoot or Holmes for the Holidays. Go ahead! Treat yourself to mayhem and a lot of fun!
The Game’s Afoot or Holmes for the Holidays runs February 15, 21, & 22 @ 7:30pm, and February 16 & 23 at 2:30pm at Theatre 57, 2220 W. Vienna Rd, Clio MI 48420. For tickets and more information call the Box Office at 810-687-2580 or access them online at www.cliocastandcrew.com.