Volume 12 Week 5

Monday, Aug. 15


Posted July 13

Posted Aug. 15

Posted Aug. 15

bike trails

Orléans Ward
Bob Monette

Beacon Hill,
Cyrville Ward
Tim Tierney





(Posted 1:30 p.m., Aug. 15)

'Murder Indeed, Sir!' indeed
By Fred Sherwin
Orléans Online

Enid Quagmire, played by Sarah Allen, jumps on the back of Bob Dogooder, who was played by Francis Kenny, as her sister Maylene Quagmire and their mother Lavinia Quagmire, played by Kattie Grattan and Sarah Benfield look on during the Vintage Stock Theatre production of 'Murder Indeed, Sir'. Fred Sherwin/Photo

Vintage Stock Theatre made a triumphant return to their home away from home this week with the latest in a series of murder mystery productions that date back to the mid-90s.

"Murder Indeed, Sir!" contained all of the elements that make up an excellent murder mystery production and which Vintage Stock has become synonymous with -- eccentric characters, lively interaction between the cast members and the audience, a beautiful setting on the grounds of the Cumberland Heritage Village Museum, and lastly a wonderful dinner culminating with the revelation of the murderer.

The first of two sold out shows took place on Aug. 6 late in the afternoon on a perfect midsummer day.

When a local boy makes good and returns to his hometown with his new wife in tow along with her personal butler, the town rolls out the red carpet. But not everyone is impressed.

"Teddy" Vencher is a war hero who wants to introduce his new bride to his Canadian roots, but in doing so he rubs a few people the wrong way, including his sister Elizabeth Jumper who is upset that he missed their father's funeral. She is also unhappy with his attitude towards the family farm which he wants no part of.

Town busybody Wilhelmina "Billie" Pelham has arranged a Welcome Back Tea for Teddy and his betrothed Cecilia Vencher, but is distracted by the town drunk, Pittman Quagmire who also happens to be the brother of Mayor Lavinia Quagmire who has her hands full with her teenage daughters Enid and Maylene, played by Sarah Allen and newcomer Katie Gratton.

As the play unfolds, it's clear that Vencher has an ulterior motive to visiting his hometown other than wanting to show his wife where he grew up.

In the lead up to the tea he argues with his sister and threatens to sell the farm from underneath her. He has words with Lavinia about their own plans for the farm. Before they can continue their discussion, however, Vencher unceremoniously kicks the bucket after drinking a cup of his favourite peppermint tea.

The potential suspects include his wife's butler, Townson, a man of few words who is completely devoid of any sense of humour; his sister Elizabeth; and, of course, the mayor.

Bob Dogooder, a retired OPP officer who was injured while on duty, is charged with solving the crime. During dinner the audience was invited to question the characters as they pass from table to table.

The evening culminated with the elimination of each character as a suspect until the list was narrowed down to the guilty party who, in this case, was Lavinia Quagmire. Apparently, she was upset with Vencher for trying to double cross her over the purchase of his deceased father's property.

(One of the interesting aspects of the Vintage Stock Theatre murder mystery production is that each script is written with two or three possible murderers which can change from one night to the other.)

My own prime suspect was the butler. Never trust a man with only one name -- what are they trying to hide anyway -- and never trust a man with a complete lack of humour.

As for the performances on the night that I saw the production they were all top notch, I especially liked Deachman's portrayal of Pittman Quagmire, and Francis Kenny makes a welcome return to Vintage Stock Theatre as Bob Dogooder.

Newcomer Sam Lipovski was superb as Cecilia Vencher, and Karine Longpré and Rob Pettifer were both on top of their game as Teddy Vencher and Elizabeth Jumper.

Orlleans Old Player and VSS veteran Chris Shackleton was at his sardonic best as the British butler, and Sarah Benfield delivered yet another outstanding performance as Livinia Quagmire.

And last but by no means least, there is Orléans grand dame of amateur theatre, Marni Hunt-Stephens who both wrote the script and co-starred as Billie Pelham.

If you had the misfortune of missing out on this year's production, be sure to get on Vintage Stock Theatre's e-mail list to get advance notice of next year's murder mystery extravaganza and avoid the sold out blues. Their website can be found at www.vintagestock.on.ca.

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



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