Friday, January 26, 2024

No Body To Murder: Hilarious One-Act Play at the County Seat Theater in Cloquet

Director Joel Soukkala welcomes the audience
and introduces the show.
Last night I attended the final dress rehearsal for No Body To Murder which is opening tonight at the Encore! Performing Arts Center and Gallery in Cloquet. The one-act play is a hilarious romp that generated involuntary laughter from start to finish. The story is a cross between Agatha Christie's Murder on the Orient Express and Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, the Steve Martin/Michael Caine film that made me laugh till my cheeks hurt. Throw in a bit of Pink Panther and you start to get the idea.

The Encore! exemplifies the essence of what local theater is about. No Body To Murder is the first show of the Encore's 37th season. That's a pretty long run, and there are reasons people keep coming back. Community theaters foster a sense of pride and involvement. And there's something to be said for the. D-I-Y spirit of local theater, that "We can do it!" bravado that steps up to new challenges. "We don't need to pay $150 a ticket for Broadway entertainment. We've got the same feel-good satisfaction right here."

In truth, local theater is fun because it's dripping with amateur enthusiasm. Local actors, directors, stage designers and set constructors do it not for fame and fortune, but out of sheer love for the arts. 

The setting for No Body To Murder is an inn in Nova Scotia. As the story opens we are introduced to the staff as they await the arrival of the weekend's guests. An ominous note is struck when the radio announces that there is an escaped convict loose on the island. Almost immediately the guests begin arriving. Three doctors, a countess, an fitness freak named Billie Body, a bad mime, Colonel Muckle, Hilda the hairdresser, and more.

Things take a darker turn when a thunderstorm knocks out the power. When the lights go back on, Billie Body is lying dead on the couch. Hmmm.  Now how did that happen? Could it be that the lemonade was poisoned? Was it the servant with the axe? The hunt for the killer is a roller coaster ride with more twists than a sidewinder.

The play, written by Edith Weiss, is directed by Jenn and Joel Soukkala. If I have failed to convey how much fun it is, that's my bad. It really is a riot.

The show is only tonight and next week, so don't put it off. Visit the County Seat Theater website for details. 

* * * 

NOTEWORTHY: In addition to the themed art show in the gallery (always tied to the current play) there is a special section featuring the remarkable work of Rea Ching Minerva. You will certainly want to make time to engage all the art, but especially these works by the late Ms. Minerva.

No comments:

Popular Posts