Spoofing Suspense

Spoofing Suspense

February 9th, 2012 by Emily Crisman in Local Regional News

The Signal Mountain Playhouse is presenting Tim Kelly's mystery spoof "The Butler Did It, Again!" for its annual winter production at the Mountain Arts Community Center Feb. 10-11, 17-18 and 24-25.

The cast of Signal Mountain Playhouse's production of "The Butler Did It, Again!" gathers for a dress rehearsal.

Photo by Emily Crisman

Dessert will be served at 6:45 p.m. each night followed by the show at 8 p.m.

"We've done several mysteries before and have had good luck with them in the past," said Anne Rittenberry, publicity director for SMPH. "We liked this one in particular because the characters in the show are all recognizable mystery characters."

Publisher Miss Maple (Janet McInturff), whose name is a play on the Agatha Christie character Miss Marple, invites a slew of her detective novel friends to a house in the Louisiana bayou to play murder mystery games. She also wants the group to meet Ruth Dice (DeDe Young), whose name rhymes with that of "Interview with the Vampire" author Anne Rice, the first to be suspected when someone in the house ends up dead.

Among Miss Maple's guests is Chandler Marlowe (Rob Inman), a melding of the names of author Raymond Chandler and his famous character, private detective Philip Marlowe. Mrs. Danvers (Anne Roza) is reminiscent of the mean housekeeper from Alfred Hitchcock's noir thriller "Rebecca," and Louie Fan (Eric Schubert) of Earl Derr Biggers' fictional Chinese-American detective Charlie Chan. Married couple Rick and Laura (played by real-life husband and wife Don Strickland and Sandy McCrea) are inspired by fictional characters detective Nick Charles and his wife Nora, of Dashiell Hammett's "The Thin Man."

Rittenberry said the play is full of smoke and mirrors, plot twists and identity changes, keeping audience members continuously guessing throughout the show.

"Nobody knows what's going to happen next," she said of the play, which is being directed by David Wood. "His directing adds a creative, whimsical slant to everything. He has an amazing sense of humor."

The ensemble cast also includes Shondra Burnett as Jane Doe, Keith Collins as family servant Chip, Kendra Gross as fashion model Linda Hayes, Tim Forsythe as Western writer Tony Tallchief, and Lee Abelson as English vicar Father White.

Rittenberry said the play is appropriate for all audiences, and the $12 admission includes dessert and coffee. Tickets are available at the door as well as in advance at the MACC during business hours.