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The Mystery of Edwin Drood
a Musical Comedy
by Rupert Holmes

COMPANY : Stage Door Players [WEBSITE]
VENUE : Stage Door Players [WEBSITE]
ID# 4753

SHOWING : July 10, 2015 - August 02, 2015



This wildly warm-hearted theatrical experience kicks off when the Music Hall Royale "puts on" its flamboyant rendition of an unfinished Dickens mystery. Our title character disappears mysteriously one stormy Christmas Eve - but has Edwin been murdered? The giddiness of this play-within-a-play allows the audience to vote on the solution as prelude to the most unusual and hilarious finale!

Director Robert Egizio
Chairman Charlie Bradshaw
Bazzard Daniel Burns
Princess Puffer Sarah Cave
Deputy Sam Costantino
Helena Landless Jessica DeMaria
Durdles Al Dollar
Neville Landless Jordan Harris
John Jasper Daniel Hilton
Throttle Robert Lee Hindsman
Horace Nolan Martin
Edwin Drood Paige Mattox
Rosa Bud Kelly Schmidt
Flo Allie Southwood
Wendy Bess Yunek
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The Misery of Gettin’ Booed
by playgoer
Sunday, July 19, 2015
"The Mystery of Edwin Drood" presents Dickens’ unfinished final work as an English music hall production, replete with song-and-dance numbers, introductions of the actors as they appear in the plot, and booing of the villain. Charlie Bradshaw appears as the Chairman, our master of ceremonies. He’s not a terribly commanding presence, and his speaking voice often gets lost in musical underscoring, but he does well enough, if you ignore his unconvincing English accent.

Most male English accents in the show are unconvincing, particularly in the pre-show patter, where actors engage the audience in conversation. Female accents are more convincing. Still, the artificiality of the music hall concept and 19th century acting styles is enough, without adding in the artificiality of American actors trying to sound English.

Chuck Welcome has done his usual magic in creating a lovely set. Curtains on the music hall set part to show a number of delightful painted backdrops, along with minimal furniture. Michael Magursky’s lighting design is generally a bit dim, probably to simulate flickering candles in footlights, and there’s a fuzzy stained glass window effect at one point that didn’t make sense to me. Still, with Bubba Carr’s active choreography, Jane Kroessig’s costumes, and George Deavours’ wigs, this is a good-looking production, although the stage appears a bit cluttered when the full cast is onstage.

Voices are all good, indicating that Nick Silvestri has done a fine job as musical director. Rial Ellsworth’s sound design tends to muddy things, though, keeping the orchestra too prominent. With a score filled with rapid-fire notes and rapid-fire lyrics to match, it’s much too easy to miss a lot of the words.

Since Dickens left the story incomplete, the solution of the mystery is left up to audience votes. Consequently, the ending can be different every night. I was happy to see Kelly Chapin Schmidt (Rosa Bud), Daniel Burns (Bazzard), and Jessica De Maria (Helena Landless) voted to portray various roles in the denouement of the performance I attended. They were among the strongest performers. The equal of any, though, is Paige Mattox as Edwin Drood, with a stunning voice and lovely diction, not to mention commanding stage presence. Director Robert Egizio made a fine choice in getting her to play the title role. [POST A COMMENT REGARDING THIS REVIEW]


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