Agatha Christie style is at work in show on Littleton stage

`Something's Afoot' is even more mysterious because butler didn't do it

Posted 3/5/18

It was a dark and stormy night — 10 strangers are gathered in an isolated English country estate — unable to leave if they wanted to — and the host is dead! Sound familiar? Director Bob Wells …

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Agatha Christie style is at work in show on Littleton stage

`Something's Afoot' is even more mysterious because butler didn't do it

Posted

It was a dark and stormy night — 10 strangers are gathered in an isolated English country estate — unable to leave if they wanted to — and the host is dead! Sound familiar?

Director Bob Wells observes: “This is almost two shows in one!” Certainly, it’s a spoof of Agatha Christie’s “And Then There Were None” or “Ten Little Indians,” but the ensemble breaks out in song at intervals, in the style of early English musical theater, enhancing the extreme silliness. Skip this one if you’re in the mood for serious messages!

“Something’s Afoot” by James McDonald, David Vos, Robert Gerlach, with additional music by Ed Linderman, plays at Littleton’s Town Hall Arts Center through March 25.

One by one, guests and servants are done in by a fiendishly clever culprit. Who can it be? The host, Lord Rancour, is already dead … Maid Lettie and lecherous Flint, a houseboy of sorts, fuss over details as they prepare the mansion for company.

After the opening scene, when most guests arrive and anticipate “A Marvelous Weekend” in song, the butler, Clive, who has overseen preparations, is first to go, via explosion.

Miss Tweed (the hilarious LuAnn Buckstein) announces the need for “a little sherry” — and takes charge, observing “I don’t think this was suicide — and we know it wasn’t the butler.” She commands others to “remove Clive to another room!” (The library, of course.)

Nasty Nigel (a limber Matt Fontaine), the owner’s nephew, who thinks he should inherit the estate, searches the desk for a will and observes: “It was a revolver — at close range …” (Cue creepy music.)

Other guests include Grayburne (Tim O’Connell); girlish Hope (Lynzee Lee Jones) — who is delighted to see young Geoffrey (Carter Edward Smith) appear. On the rowing team, “I swam here,” he says cheerfully, as they break into a song and dance number …

Eryn Carman’s Grace, Lady Rancour, is an anxious woman with a past — she has written the owner, her ex-husband, hoping he will give her some money. She had a love affair with a young lieutenant, she recalls, and there was a child, who is the heir … Her “Man With the Ginger Moustache” is a great solo number. When she asks crusty Col. Gillweather (Tim Fishbaugh) for a cigarette, he offers a Havana cigar.

Tweed warbles “I Owe it all to Agatha Christie” as she tries to analyze further — and as ingenious and fatal incidents continue, one at a time, song and dance numbers continue as well.

Director Bob Wells’ alternate life as a comic certainly enhances his eye for what will score laughs — almost constantly.

Older kids will soon get the drift as this trail misleads the audience once again … really young ones won’t. But parents and grandparents will spend a happy couple of hours enjoying nice 1930s costumes and actors with a good sense of the comic timing essential to pulling this one off.

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