Murder on the Links
Who knew murder was supposed to be an occasion for amusement? Omri Schein, that’s who. His Comical Mystery Tour rolls merrily along, circling back to where it started with last season’s The Remarkable Mister Holmes musical, for which he was the writer. Then it was down to Coronado for more Holmesian hijinks as the villain (and other characters) in Baskerville. Now he’s acting again, this time in the starring role: Agatha Christie’s Hercule Poirot, the fastidious fellow with the Belgian accent, the fine moustache, and the deep faith in the little gray cells’ power to deduce (as opposed to say, grubby forensic work).
His fellow Baskerville actor Brian Mackey is along for the ride — there, he was the master detective; here, he joins three other actors in playing a whole bunch of parts. (The play’s handling of that particular aspect gives a good sense of its sense of humor: at first, it’s content to let the change of costumes do its work on the imagination. But gradually, the story’s labyrinthine plot places increasing demands on the cast, so that at one point, Mackey the suspected Englishman is forced to distinguish himself from Mackey the interrogating Frenchman by holding his dapper cardigan to his chest and switching from one outsized accent to another. Silly, but effective, if you’re amenable. Other bits are a bit more guaranteed groany: the mispronunciations of Poirot’s name as Poy-rot by an Englishman, the mispronunciation of bunker as bunk-ay by a Frenchman, etc.)
The other static character is Poirot’s friend Arthur Hastings (Kim Morgan Dean), who also serves as an able narrator but an unreliable partner, seeing as how easily his head is turned by a pretty face. At one point, he gets so enmeshed that the rest of the cast must take over his duties, much to his dismay. For his part, Schein shuffles and mugs, eyes bugging at the audience, daring them to laugh, but plays his eccentric character straight.
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