Playwright Ken Ludwig employs just about every trope of the stage to get laughs in his holiday mystery The Game's Afoot. One of the most successful is a "Who's on First" style gag in which a gasping and nearly murdered house guest tries to point out to the delusional homeowner William Gillette (played by Justin Mason) that she's been stabbed in the back as he banters on, completely oblivious.
Based on the real actor, playwright and inventor William Gillette, the play is set at his secluded Connecticut mansion, decorated with a mixture of futuristic technology and medieval artillery. Real Gillette portrayed Sherlock Holmes thousands of times in the early 20th century on stage, and Game's Afoot Gillette is prone to delusions that he is a real-life Holmes, attempting to solve his own shooting by tricking his friends and coworkers into admitting their guilt at a Christmas Eve soiree. The plot thickens with a murder before intermission.
It's safe to say that just about every community theater in the nation has at one point done a rendition of one of Ken Ludwig's 20-plus plays. In fact, Cascades Theatrical Company performed the comedy The Moon Over Buffalo two years ago, and wrapped its season earlier this year with the funny golf comedy Fox on the Fairway. Ludwig's writing is light and goofy and the twists of this mystery will keep audiences hooked with laugh out loud gags and subtle comedic opportunities for the small cast of actors (Will Futterman, Daniel Liefer, Victoria Stern, Erica Boismenu, Kathryn Rose, Patricia Del Ruth and Michael Donnenwerth) to shine.
A twist on the classic holiday entertainment, there's no lesson about how much George Bailey loves Bedford Falls, no Grinch hearts growing multiple sizes and no rosy cheeked fat man sliding down the chimney. Ludwig replaces jolly carols with séances, stabbings, rotating bookcases and big laughs.
The Game's Afoot; |or Holmes for the Holidays
Through Dec. 7 (excluding Nov. 28-Dec. 1)
Thursday, Friday, Saturday, 7:30 pm
Sunday, 2 pm
Tickets at cascadestheatrical.org