REVIEW: Comedy is Afoot in Greenville Theatre Murder Mystery

No one delivers murder mysteries like Greenville Theatre: The Game’s Afoot is a farce awash with splendid actors at their zenith.

BY SANDY STAGGS
DRAMA CRITIC

The Game’s Afoot at Greenville Theatre

After a sparkling array of mega-budget musical season openers, the major houses switch up the ante with traditional murder mysteries such as Greenville Theatre’s The Game’s Afoot and Spartanburg Little Theatre’s And Then There Were None opening this weekend.

This genre with the addition of Sherlock Holmes – well, the actor who first played Sherlock Holmes on stage in 1899 William Gillette (a marvelously debonair and goofy Blake Sims) is familiar territory for Greenville Theatre, a company known for its costume dramas (kudos to Thomas Brooks for the spiffy looks on this stage) and magnificently detailed recreations of stately murder manors (Graham Shaffer w/Kim Granner as scenic artist).

The Game’s Afoot is a solid light farce by the uber-prolific and reliable Ken Ludwig (Lend Me A Tenor, Moon Over Buffalo) not to mention starring a cavalcade of stars (many in finely-coiffed wigs and evening gowns): Evan Harris returns to a role he has played more than once: Holmes’ sidekick, personified here as the Lionel Barrymore-esque Felix Geisel, the actor who plays Moriarty in the play-within-the-play.

Beth Munson (a hit in last season’s Leaving Iowa) plays the good guy here as Inspector Goring who has plenty of suspects to interogate such as the diabolical aand fast talkin’ Madge Geisel (a sassy femme fatale Elizabeth Colson), the delightful Tiffany Nave with the best lines in the show delivered with such an ingratiating manner with piercing condescension.

Ben Nicholas and Chelsea Street play the young couple Simon and Aggie, and Kelly Wallace dazzles as the matriarch Martha Gillette who doesn’t always know which way is up, but somehow has all the answers.

A dead body, murder, police! Will Sherlock, err Gillette solve the case?

Find out in this splendid comedy murder mystery directed by Allen McCalla that’s well-crafted, beautifully executed and, all in all, a solid evening of splendor and intrigue.

The Game’s Afoot continues through November 10 at Greenville Theatre, 444 College Street in Greenville. Call (864) 233-6238 or visit www.greenvilletheatre.org

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