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Bob Monette




(Posted 9:30 a.m., June 10)

Orleans Older Players deliver pair of hilarious whodunits
By Fred Sherwin
Orléans Online

Detective DeWitt and her trusted sidekick Tivo check out the dead butler in the second of two plays put on by OYP's Orleans Older Players class on Monday and Tuesday night. Fred Sherwin/Photo

After 21 performances in 31 nights featuring budding actors and actresses seven to 17, the Orleans Young Players Spring Festival came to a close on Tuesday night with the second of two performances by the theatre school's senior thespians.

The Orleans Older Players class was formed three years ago to give the east end's slightly more mature residents their moment under the lights. Past OOPS productions include The Little Bird and A Robin Hood Adventure.

This year's class tackled a pair of productions written by OYP alumnus Gordon Watts and directed by former ENCORE! artistic director Jennn Jarvis.

The first play, An Unfortunate Series of Murders, was a funny spoof of the traditional whodunit in which a bumbling detective, played by Micheline Mathon, must solve a mysterious murder by midnight.

The list of supects includes the dead man's wife, his personal physician, the hosts of the dinner party and the butler. During the course of the play the suspects start dying off every time the lights go out. By the end of the play the only two people left are the detective and the butler who's holding the rife.

Despite the extremely obvious, the detective is convinced that the deceased accidentally stabbed himself with a dinner knife, the dinner party hosts each shot themselves mishandling the rifle, the doctor fell on a knife and the wife died when she tripped while struggling for the gun with the butler and cracked her head on the coffee table.

Brilliantly deduced and absolutely hilarious. The second play, Death by Murder, was actually a sequel of the first in which the butler is on the same cruise as Detective Dewitt who has a sidekick with her named Tivo.

The play is barely five minutes old when the lights go out and five shots are fired. When the lights come back on, the butler is lying dead on the couch and Detective DeWitt immediately springs into action.

After questioning the potential suspects including an aging soap opera star who keeps going in and out of character, played by OOPS veteran Tina Chan, and the sister of the wife from the earlier play, DeWit concludes that everyone is guilty except for the sister who is allowed to go free despite repeatedly confessing to the crime.

While there were a few hiccups throughout both plays, you could tell that the cast was having a ball.

At one point during An Unfortunate Series of Murders, Natouchka Fley, who plays the doctor, falls dead on top of an already deceased Mrs. Trent who's played by Chan. You can tell both ladies start giggling while they're lying there, which almost spreads to the other cast members.

Both Fley and Chan did double duty in the two plays as did Pierre Laroque, another OOPS regular who played Mr. Trent in the first play and Simon in the second production, and Krystal Moore who played the wife in An Unfortunate Series of Murders and a lawyer in Death by Murder.

Kevin Peircy was in both plays as well but he played the dead body in the first play. In the second production he played Simon's friend Alfred. The Chief of Police was played by Linas Poupore. Liz Bakken played the Butler and Jarvis left the director's chair to play the sister in Death by Murder.

Both the Monday night and Tuesday night performances were dedicated to Gordon Watts' mother Shelia who is suffering from advanced ALS.

The Orleans Older Players class runs from January to June and is limited to about 12 students. For more information about OOPS! or the Orleans Young Players theatrical program in general visit www.oyplayers.on.ca.

(This story was made possible thanks to the generous support of our local business partners.)


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