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Bowie Community Theatre Murder By Misadventure

By • Jan 24th, 2012 • Category: Reviews
Murder By Misadventure by Edward Taylor
Bowie Community Theatre
Bowie Playhouse, Bowie, MD
Through January 28th
2:20 with one intermission
$18/$13 Seniors and Students
Reviewed January 21st, 2012

If you’ve enjoyed an Agatha Christie play, or participated in a murder mystery party (which I’ve hosted at least fifteen different murders over the years), you will absolutely love Bowie Community Theatre’s production of Edward Taylor’s Murder By Misadventure.

Two writing partners have had a string of success over the past ten years, and one of the partners is thinking it’s time to do something else. The other feels “if it isn’t broken, why change it?” This leads to a great deal of backstabbing, revenge, questioning each other’s motives, and a bit of fun as well. With the play containing only four characters (one a policeman!), you will be guessing and second-guessing who the murderer is right up until the very surprising ending!

Writer Howard Kent (Jerry Gietka) and his wife Emma (Lesley Miller) were a bit cold towards each other thoughout the performance. Their relationship didn’t quick spark the way it could have. Howard’s writing partner Paul Riggs (James McDaniel) was quite plausible as the lazy writer coasting through life. Sometimes he was a bit too forthright, being very trusting as he walked around Howard and Emma’s apartment. Inspector Egan (George Tamerlani) reminded me of Columbo, a bumbling yet shrewd investigator who missed nothing. Together, in various combinations, each person exhibited the right mixture of confusion and emotions.

Director John Degnan keeps the show moving right along, although the first act seemed to drag a bit as the situation was laid out in extreme detail. Dan Lavanga’s set was nice, but not quite nice enough from the posh description the Kents shared with Paul. Maybe a few more gizmos or high-tech things were needed on the walls? Regardless, it was serviceable.

I thoroughly enjoyed myself, trying to figure out who would be the murderer, and heck, even trying to figure out who would be the victim! I ended up guessing right a few details, and missing a few others. This show closes on Saturday, get out to Bowie to have a “killer” time.

Director’s Notes

In the past, I had always directed shows of my own choosing, and they were invariably comedies and musicals. So when the BCT Board invited me to direct an unfamiliar murder mystery, I immediately found myself outside my comfort zone. I cautiously replied that I would gladly read the play and, if I liked it, would direct it. Opening the script for the first time, I immediately noted that there were only four characters, and one was a police inspector. This was clearly no Ten Little Indians with scads of potential suspects. My sharp mathematical mind immediately concluded that, assuming one of the remaining three characters was the victim, the audience had a 50-50 chance of guessing the murderer even before the curtain rose on the first act. What kind of lame mystery is that? Well, my dear audience, I couldn t have been more wrong. The play you are about to see is one long string of convoluted plot twists, which eventually arrives at a very surprising and some might say fitting – conclusion. I hope you enjoy it.

I’d like to take this opportunity to thank the many people who worked through the holiday season and winter colds to bring you this production. In addition to our fine cast and production staff, I am especially grateful to Producer Estelle Miller, Set Designer Dan Lavanga, Stage Manager John Nunemaker, All-Around Helpmate Joanne Bauer, and our phenomenal Bowie Playhouse technical staff, Garrett, Pete, Al, and Walt.

John Degnan

Cast

  • Howard Kent: Jerry Gietka
  • Emma Ken: Lesley Miller
  • Paul Riggs: James McDaniel
  • Inspector Egan: George Tamerlani

Production Staff

  • Producer: Estelle Miller
  • Director: John (Jack) Degnan
  • Stage Manager: John Nunemaker
  • Lighting Designer: Dan Lavanga
  • Set Construction Crew: Dan Lavanga, Mike Fawcett, Patrick Ready, Keith Brown, Cindy Bentley, Greg Anderson, John Degnan, Estelle Miller, George Tamerlani, Eddie Arredondo, Joanne Bauer, Ken kienas, pete Dursin, Garrett Hyde, James McDaniel, Scott Beadle, Duane Rouch, John Nunemaker, Rae Wein
  • Set Painting: Rae Wein, Lesley Miller, Gerry Gietka, Cindy Bentley, Faith Leahy-Thielke, John Nunemaker
  • Set Dressing: Estelle Miller, Jill York, Debbie Samek, Joanne Bauer
  • Properties: Bernadette Arvidson, Estelle Miller
  • Costumes: Jane Lecher
  • Master Technician: Garrett Hyde
  • Theater Technicians: Al Chopey, Walter Kleinfelder, Pete Dursin
  • Mailing Administrator: Galen Menne
  • Photographer: Connie Carter
  • Videographer: Mike Dunlop/Dove Video
  • Graphic/Program Design: Debbie Samek
  • Advertising/Publicity: Estelle Miller
  • Webmaster: Jennifer Hill
  • House Manager: Joanne Bauer
  • Lobby Design: Debbie Samek

Disclaimer: Bowie Community Theatre provided a complimentary media ticket to ShowBizRadio for this review.

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has performed in local productions, but prefers to be behind the scenes. Mike earned a Career Studies Certificate in Theater from Northern Virginia Community College. Mike is a member of the American Theatre Critics Association and the Online News Association.

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