Frequent murders and hilarious hi-jinks pervade Bishop Ireton’s musical comedy, ‘Something’s Afoot’
The Washington Post, November 26, 2012
All reviews are written by Cappies student critics and edited by Cappies adult mentors prior to publishing. Access online HERE.
Photo by Catherine Schreiber
An old mansion, an unlikely mix of guests, and the unexplained death of a host seem to form a recipe for suspense and screams. However, these elements actually make up the lively and comical musical “Something’s Afoot,” Bishop Ireton’s recent production.
“Something’s Afoot” was written by James McDonald, David Vos, and Robert Gerlach, with additional music by Ed Linderman. It became a dinner theater favorite after its 1976 showing on Broadway. The story, which pokes fun at Agatha Christie’s murder mystery “And Then There Were None,” begins with the arrival of six guests at the Lord Dudley Rancour’s mansion. Unfortunately, the guests quickly discover that their host has been murdered, and as one person after another mysteriously dies, suspicions heighten. While the guests and servants of the house hunt for answers, they face personal encounters with each other. All the while, the show exaggerates the shock of murder, the uncertainty of finding a culprit, the wittiness of a detective, and the spontaneity of love in order to add spicy humor to the story.
Bishop Ireton’s production of “Something’s Afoot” shone with impressive talent in multiple areas. The cast as a whole sparked laughs through their body language, sharply performed in dramatic unison whenever something suspicious occurred. The choreography, though simple, captivated the audience through each character’s enthusiasm and almost consistently spot-on timing. In spite of a few microphone issues, the cast’s diction carried through quite smoothly, and most of them engaged strikingly accurate accents.
Miss Tweed (Sarah Moffit), the sprightly and witty old lady, performed with particular confidence and ease. Each of her mannerisms, from her hunched walk to her wily facial expressions captivated the audience, making her death both hilarious and sad to see that such an entertaining character had to die. The tender-hearted Hope Langdon (Brenna Carroll) also livened up the stage with her brightly optimistic face and melodious voice that made singing high notes seem like a walk in the park. Her heartfelt yet juvenile relationship with the spirited Geoffrey (Joey Ledonio) both touched and tickled the audience.
Other characters shone despite shorter stage time. Lady Grace Manley-Prowe (Kaitlin Hamer) displayed strong vocal talent in her solo “The Man with the Ginger Mustache.” Servants Lettie (Catherine Schreiber) and Flint (Joseph Green) grasped their cockney personas and ran with them, shown in their accents, attitudes, and comical song “Dinghy.” While some characters sang a bit weakly in the upper register, their skillful expression drew significant attention.
The set of “Something’s Afoot” wowed the audience from the moment the curtain opened. The two levels, complete with stairs, decorative paintings, and several functioning doors, portrayed Lord Rancour’s mansion with astounding realism and beauty. The costumes, almost all student-made, from hats to shoes, drew the reader into the 1930s time period. The special effects, timed precisely, included amusing and surprising elements such as smoky explosions and poisonous gas clouds.
From beginning to end, Bishop Ireton’s “Something’s Afoot” flipped Agatha Christie stories upside down with dexterity, and so brought several audience members to their feet at the curtain call.