(Posted 8:30 a.m., June 25)
dinner theatre production a 'must see'
By Fred Sherwin
Grantham, played by Sam Stephens (middle), is lead away by Davina Grainger,
played by Sherry Thurig (left) and Millie Throgmorton, played by Marni Hunt-Stephens,
during a scene in
Vintage Stock Theatre's murder mystery dinner theatre production of 'Murder
by Stitches'. Fred Sherwin/Photo
For the past
six years, the Vintage Stock Theatre Company has been producing and presenting
murder mystery dinner theatre events on the grounds of the Cumberland Heritage
Village Museum to rave reviews.
Last year, they
switched the event from late August to mid-June with the production of "A
Fowl Business" which was well received by the audience.
This year they
have come up with yet another inventive method to kill off the victim and
sorting through all the suspects is as confusing as ever.
by Stiches" takes place in a fictional village on the eve of a garden
party that's been organized to raise money for the Red Cross during the
Second World War. The rather eccentric townsfolk are all a flutter over
the goings on and can barely contain their excitement.
of the big event is Davina Grainger played by Sherry Thurig who makes her
return to Vintage Stock after a two year hiatus.
One of the special
guests is an industrialist named Binghamton Grantham, played by Francis
Kenny. Grantham is accompanied by his nurse Hester Billingsly, played by
Sylvie Lapointe, and his lovely new wife Daisy Grantham, who is played by
So here's the
twist. Grantham is partially deaf, which is the result of a blast at a diamond
mine which he apparently played a role in. The mind was owned by a Swede
named Sven Gali, played by Andre Dimitrijevic, who is now a chef and just
happens to be preparing food for the garden party.
When the Chef
sees a large diamond necklace around Miss Daisy's neck, he swears revenge
and vows to get his diamonds back. He also makes several overt threats upon
There are several
other players in this tawdry affair, including Lachlan McLachlan, played
by Ian McGregor, who was a former business associate of Grantham's and who
avoided being killed in the diamond mine blast. Aloysious B. Charnsworth,
played by the irreverent John Cook, is an inventor os sorts and a pretty
poor one at that. Millie and Tillie, are two cockney cleaning ladies, played
by Vintage veterans Susan Flemming and Marni Hunt-Stephens. And last, but
by no means least, there's little Petunia Morningstar, played by Emma Leclair.
As the play unfolds
it's clear that Sven Gali is no fan of Grantham's and niether is McLachlan.
Nurse Billingsly is feeding her client pills like there's no tomorrow and
we discover that Daisy is deathly allergic to coconut.
And then there's
the mysterious Hastings Chillwicket who apparently was engaged to Daisy
before he mysteriously "disappeared". According to the village
newspaper which the audience members receive when they arrive at the museum,
Chillwicket was "a bit of an odd duck" and always writting telegrams
which is interesting because Daisy kept receiving telegrams during the play.
The best part
about a Vintage Stock murder mystery production is that guessing who's going
to be murdered is almost as much fun as guessing who did it. In "Murder
by Stitches" we don't find out who the vistim is until near the end
of Act 2, when Grantham comes reeling though a gate with a knitting needle
embedded in his neck, clutching a rose that was given to Davina Grainger
early in the play.
The list of suspects
includes his wife Daisy who he made the executor of his estate; Nurse Billingsly
who it turns out was written out of his will; Sven Gali the Chef; Lachlan
McLachlan the former business associate; and of course the mysterious Hastings
Chillwicket, we never actually get to see.
I won't ruin
the ending for you now, but suffice it to say and failed tyo figure out
who the murder was. In fact, my pick ended up being the first character
ruled out. This is the fifth or sixth year in a row that I've failed to
figure out who the culprit was. Last year in "A Fowl Business",
I guessed the Chicken Boy, who was played by Hayden Smith, and was dead
This year I once
again let Smith, who is an excellent actor by the way, throw me off. Hayden
wasn't in the play this year, but he did sit at my table during dinner and
as we were sorting through the suspects he came up with the rather plausible
theory that Grantham wasn't killed by a knitting needle. The murder weapon
he conjectured was a pork skewer.
I would have scoffed at his suggestion, but I did see blood on the wooden
spoon Sven Gali had been carrying around, which is why I went with the Swedish
Chef. Worng again. Thanks Hayden.
All I can say
is that if you are a fan of murder mystery theatre, you will love 'Murder
by Stitches' -- and the food isn't bad either. Vintage Stock Theatre present
"Murder by Stitches" this Saturday at the Cumberland Heritage
Village Museum. Showtime is 6 p.m. and tickets are $45 each including dinner.
was made possible thanks to the generous support of our local
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