7:30 a.m., Aug. 21)
mystery dinner theatre returns to Cumberland museum
Nursing a Grudge, Clara Waters played by Louisa Haché and Wilfrid
Waters, played by Paul Fedor, are in town to recruit nurses for the war effort
when a muder is committed. Fred Sherwin/Photo
to any good murder mystery theatre production is the acting. It is the actors
who must sell the script and who must guide the audience through the early scenes.
It is also the actors' job to create and maintain a level of mystery that keeps
the audience on their toes and in a state of complete confusion.
After four murder mystery theatre productions, the folks at Vintage Stock Theatre
have nearly perfected the genre as evident by the fact that when the time came
for the audience to guess who the killer was during the opening night production
of Nursing a Grudge Saturday night, five different characters received
at least 10 votes and the real murderer only received eight votes.
tell you who the murderer was, but that would only ruin it for anyone contemplating
seeing the encore presentation at the Cumberland Heritage Village Museum this
a Grudge is cleverly written by Vintage Stock Theatre veteran Marni Hunt
Stephens who has risen from the ranks of victim in the 2003 production Birthdays
Can Be Murder. Marnis daughter Samantha and Tim Robinson do double
duty as co-directors and actors in the murder mystery.
play is set in a small Eastern Ontario town in 1914 at the very precipice of the
First World War. Memories still linger of the Boer War and a national nursing
drive is on to get young women to answer the call.
in past murder mystery theatre productions put on by Vintage Stock Theatre, the
grounds of the museum forms the set. As you pass through the doors of the museum
entrance and out on to the grounds youre offered a copy of the local paper
The Village Echo which contains a number of stories from the period including
a few that give some insight into some of the characters youre about to
correctly figuring out both the murderer and the motive at last years murder
mystery production, I was brimming with confidence that Id be able to make
it two for two. (Actually 2-for-4, since I was woefully off base the first two
Nursing a Grudge, a husband and wife recruiting team arrive in town
to hold a nurse recruitment rally. Trouble is brewing, however, because the reverends
daughter wants to become a nurse and he vehemently objects. At the same time the
town is also visited by two adventurers, Yukon Eunice and Portia Cullen.
the first two scenes the audience is introduced to the characters who intersperse
with the crowd as the play develops. It is the audiences job to interact
with the characters and try and glean as much information from them as possible.
I ends with the surprise entrance of one of the main characters. The actual murder
takes place in Scene II.
The key to deducing a Vintage Stock Theatre murder
mystery production is to be in the right place at the right time and to overhear
the right conversation. It is also helpful to compare notes with other audience
the time Scene VI takes place in the dining area, my list of potential suspects
numbers 10. It is during Scene VI that we learn how all the characters are interconnected
thanks to the questioning of Nurse Clara Waters, played by Louisa Haché.
VI is also when dinner is served, which is always one of the highlights of any
Vintage Stock Theatre murder mystery production. Dinner also affords members of
the audience one last chance to question the various characters as they mingle
from table to table.
the time dessert is served it is decision time. At my particular table is Jan
Teevan, who has been to two of the three previous productions and guessed the
correct answer last year, and friends Alison Danforth, Katie Charles and Kelly
who are all first timers.
the five of us we come up with four different answers. I have it down to A or
B and pick B. As it turns out, it was A and Jan and Alison both won prices for
properly deducing both the murderer and the motive.
in all it was another enjoyable evening both in terms of the production and the
dinner. Fantastic performances were turned in by the entire cast which includes
David Ferguson, Louisa Haché, Tim Robinson, Erin McCloskey, Sam Stephens,
Lori Kendell, Olivia Best, Paige Kendell, Paul Fedor, Chris Story, Sarah Benfield
and Vicky Bolduc.
limited number of tickets are still available for this Saturdays production
by calling the Vintage Stock Theatre hotline at 860-0603. Tickets are $45 each
and include a buffet dinner by Steady Catering. The event is licensed and beverages
are available at an additional cost.
story was made possible thanks to the generous support of our local
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