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Pseudo-Sherlock tackles dinner party murder in new play

By Connor Sadler, November 20 2014 —

Sherlock Holmes plays typically have a serious tone.

Holmes paces around the crime scene uncovering clues and revealing motives until he solves the crime. The Game’s Afoot, presented by Vertigo Theatre, puts a comedic twist on the formula by focusing on William Gillette, an actor who used to play Holmes on stage.

After a successful performance, Gillette invites the cast and crew back to his Connecticut castle for a celebration. When one of the guests is murdered during dinner, Gillette draws on his experience playing Holmes and tries to use the character’s skills to solve the murder, and hilarity ensues.

“This play is set in 1936, so we did a little bit of research on how that style of acting was different from what we do now. It’s a much bigger and melodramatic style,” says Mark Bellamy, director of The Game’s Afoot. “This was able to bring a lot more of almost a farce element into the mystery genre. They’re all running around and trying to solve this murder and they’re very extreme, large characters.”

The Game’s Afoot was the first mystery play written by famous comedic playwright Ken Ludwig.

Ludwig researched Agatha Christie’s work and other famous mysteries extensively when writing the play.

With many references to genre classics, mystery buffs will have plenty of allusions to look out for.

“There are little touches that are very much like a bit of Agatha Christie’s work and a bit of [playwright] Noel Coward’s live spirit,” Bellamy says. “There’s all these references to other works in there if you’re looking for them.”

The Game’s Afoot runs from Nov. 8 until Dec. 7.

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