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Review: The Mystery of Edwin Drood

By • Mar 7th, 2006 • Category: Reviews

Listen to our review of The Little Theatre of Alexandria’s production of The Mystery of Edwin Drood [MP3 6:16 5.7MB].

Laura: We’re talking about The Little Theatre of Alexandria‘s production of The Mystery of Edwin Drood that we saw last evening.

Mike: The Mystery of Edwin Drood was a short story written by Charles Dickens. Unfortunately Mr. Dickens passed away before the last half of the story could be written. So he had all these open ended plots in the story and lots of different ways it could be resolved. We don’t know what he really wanted to do. Links to the copy of the original story are on our website, ShowBizRadio.net so you can download it and read the original story. Back in 1985 the musical version was written, officially called Drood: the Mystery of Edwin Drood. Commonly it is referred to as The Mystery of Edwin Drood. What did you think of it, Laura?

Laura: It was an ok show. The singers sang well together. The set was good, with good use of the staging area as far as stairs and platforms they would roll out and then attach which I thought was an interesting use of the stage.

Mike: But the actual story didn’t do much for you?

Laura: The actual story I thought was confusing. It was hard to decide how much audience participation there was. The audience was a little slow in getting involved with it, too. They weren’t sure when to clap and when not to clap.

Mike: Before the show started some of the actors and actresses came out. This show is a show within a show. Just like Noises Off. So you had the actors coming out playing their first part and then they were telling the audience, “Ok you’re going to be voting on the murderer or the bad guy.” They were trying to drum up support so you could vote for them because they got to sing an extra song. Of course actors and actresses love to be on center stage. They were trying to drum up support that we would think they did the crime. it flowed between the play Edwin Drood and the 19th century characters invisibly. You didn’t know when they were being themselves and when they were being their actor role.

Laura: I found that confusing.

Mike: It was a little confusing. It wasn’t earth shattering, but it was a little confusing. A couple times they actually talked about the stage manager or I have to play the mayor because the person playing the mayor couldn’t be here. Not to give anything away, I guess that was a little bit. It jumps around a little bit. I liked the stage as well. One thing that was really cool was the lighting. The entire backdrop was lit up with different colored lighting depending on the scene. That was really effective. They had some really nice colors. They accented the scenes really well. They had twilight all the way through dawn through Spring. They did really well with the lighting.

Laura: The props that were used were good , too. They took a block and made it into the table for the Christmas meal.

Mike: They were square blocks. Sometimes they were chairs, sometimes they were a bench, and sometimes it was a table. They were very flexible. Sometimes they could stand hem on end and make them taller for different types of furniture. That was really good. Their costumes were really good. They looked 19th century what you would picture from all the tv shows and movies.

Laura: Very bright colors.

Mike: Their accents were good. They were British English.

Laura: They stuck with the accents the whole time.

Mike: Some of the singing, and I can’t think of specifics, but some of the singing got muddied. I don’t know if that was the orchestra which was in the back of the stage. I don’t know if they were just too loud or if it was too many people singing or if it was a problem. Some of the songs were muddy. I couldn’t understand all of the lyrics.

Laura: I noticed that, too. The person who played Jasper, Rick Latterell, his microphone had some issues because he was belting it out and you could hardly hear him. The second act the sound improved.

Mike: The character who played Edwin Drood was played by Katie Gentic. We saw her with The Arlington Players when she played Princess Winifred in Once Upon a Mattress. She did a really good job with Edwin. They did bill her as an actress playing a man and that was a big deal. That got a round of applause. She did really well with her roles.

Laura: She had a nice singing voice as well.

Mike: Rosa Bud was one of the characters. She was played by Miss Deidre Peregrine who was played by Sharon Grant. That’s that whole show within a show thing. All the actors and actresses had multiple parts. Sharon Grant did a good job. She was the one who introduced the show to our section of the audience. You do get to vote on the murderer. Some murder mysteries you get to vote on who did it. They present you with the choice of seven different people who had the ability to do the crime, who could or could not have had a reason. Then they had the extras in the audience come out and take the votes of each section of the audience.

Laura: That was kind of neat. That means it could be a different person at each performance.

Mike: It would be really neat if like on closing night they could do all seven endings. “Oh, it was this character. Now let’s say it was this character.” The same way Clue the Movie did with were four different endings. When it was released on VHS they played through one ending. Then they put a screen up that said,”or it could have been like this.” And they played a different ending that was totally feasible and possible and it was fun. Luckily we guessed right. We were in the majority so we were able to pick the murderer last night. So that is Drood: the Mystery of Edwin Drood playing through March 18th at the Little Theatre of Alexandria.

Laura: And now. On with the show.

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started ShowBizRadio in August 2005 because they love live theater. They each have both performed in and worked behind the scenes in DC area productions, as well as earned a Career Studies Certificate in Theater from Northern Virginia Community College. Mike & Laura are each members of the American Theatre Critics Association, and Mike is a member of the Online News Association.

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