BELLEVUE, Neb. – The following title is so long that the marquee at the theater just has the first letter of each word on it. This will be the last time in this review you will see the entire title. “The Farndale Avenue Housing Estate Towns Women’s Guild Dramatic Society Murder Mystery” is the crazy comedy playing for three weekends at The Bellevue Little Theatre.
The director is Doug Marr, who has directed shows in the “Farndale” series before. He has a great cast of five accomplished actors in the show. Leading the way and sort of the referee of the show is Deb Kelly, who plays Mrs. Reece; she has multiple roles and changes costume numerous times. The lone male in the cast is David Sindelar as Gordon Pugh, and he teams up with Karin Hogston as Felicity, Mary Trecek as Audrey and Ree Davis-Stone as Thelma. All perform well in this crazy and sometimes confusing comedy.
Although the curtain is at 8 p.m., the show starts about 10 minutes before that when Gordon goes around the set, which is the interior of the mansion that has almost a cartoon look that takes a bit of a beating during the play.
It is a play-within-a-play when the group performs a mystery called “Murder at Checkmate Manor.” I really think this production will be appreciated by people who have had the opportunity to perform or work backstage on a theater project. When things go wrong, things go really wrong. Lights that are supposed to go up go off and actors get confused where they are supposed to go. Props don’t go in the right place. There are hilarious pratfalls that are done well. Parts of the walls, doors and tables get messed up a bunch.
Then right in the middle of the mystery, a time out is taken to do a fashion show. Yes, a fashion show with ’70s music and posing by the actors. The costumes are colorful and fun and this is just a unique play that is fun theater.
The curtain is at 8 p.m. and with a 15-minute intermission at 9, the final curtain is at 9:45 p.m. The play, (see above title) runs through May 29. Curtain is at 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and Sunday matinees at 2 p.m. Adult tickets are $15, seniors $13 and students $7.50. The box office can be reached by calling (402) 291-1554.
– Reviewer Loyal Fairman can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org