Chevy Chase Player’s production of Death By ChocolateBy Laura & Mike Clark • Nov 5th, 2006 • Category: Reviews
Listen to our review of the Chevy Chase Player’s production of Death By Chocolate [MP3 4:18 1.2MB].
Mike: Death By Chocolate is a comedy play written by Paul Freed. It takes place at a health resort where there’s been a suicide/murder. The facility is under new management and the staff ends up dead and so we have a murder mystery happening. What happened? Who did it? Why did they do it? The characters are trying to figure out what’s going on.
Laura: Comedy is a very difficult thing to pull off. The timing is absolutely crucial to get the lines and the actors’ and actresses’ timing down. Unfortunately the Chevy Chase Players didn’t quite have it down.
Mike: I have to agree with that. The show had it’s funny parts. There were some good lines that came across really well. Unfortunately there were more lines, while amusing, would have been really funny if they had been handled a bit better by the cast.
One of the main characters was John Stone played by Alex Bastani. He had a lot of lines that were really funny and he pulled off some of them, got a good laugh from the audience. But there were also a fair number of other lines where they just kind of fell flat. Some were puns and puns are usually kind of tricky if you don’t like puns. I like the puns and some of them just didn’t hit right. He wasn’t real comfortable it seems like on stage. He retreated behind the desk a lot which was ok when he was trying to retreat from a character on stage, but it seemed like he wasn’t real sure what to do with himself on the stage.
Laura: The aerobic instructor Dick Simmering was played by Larry Blaskopf. I think the role was written to imitate Richard Simmons. Unfortunately Larry just did not play the part big enough. He wasn’t exuberant enough and flamboyant and outlandish like Richard Simmons is. That was a hard role to play because he just didn’t come across with a whole lot of energy.
Mike: John Stone’s secretary, Dyslexia, was played by Ilona Piaskowy. I really did enjoy watching her. She was quite expressive. She was very reactive. And she wasn’t saying the lines of the other actors while she was waiting for her cues. I enjoyed watching her character. She did a pretty good job as a frustrated secretary dealing with a new boss and other things going on.
Laura: The opening scene set the stage for a really interesting murder mystery. Unfortunately it just didn’t last.
Mike: One thing I noticed before the show was the back door of the office opened out onto a patio and there was a really nice set back there. There was a tree it looked like and maybe a fountain of some sort. That was a really nice attention to detail. The characters actually used those doors for several parts of the show and that was nice. I do kind of wish the show could have had the curtain pulled so we didn’t see the set until the show started. People could kind of look at the set and kind of see things that weren’t quite done perfectly. So why give us extra time to look at the set? Go ahead and pull the curtain if you can.
Laura: Death By Chocolate performed by the Chevy Chase Players I think could have been a really funny murder mystery. Unfortunately everybody up on stage felt very stiff and a bit mechanical so they weren’t really able to get into their parts and have the full energy needed for this good murder mystery comedy.
Mike: I really think the pace of the show could be picked up a bit. For example, John Stone at one point was going to eat a piece of the chocolate from the poisoned box of chocolates. He stopped moving the chocolate into his mouth before the door opened and that was just awkward. So maybe the entrances can be a bit quicker and maybe the pacing of the show could be a bit quicker as well.
Laura: Death By Chocolate is playing through November the 18th at the Chevy Chase Community Center in Washington DC.
Mike: And now, on with the show.
This article can be linked to as: http://washingtondc.showbizradio.com/goto/1813.
Laura & Mike Clark 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.