Too bad if you missed seeing this classic British who-done-it murder mystery.
Five perfomances packed in crowds at the Albert L. Jeffers Theater at UT Pan American in Edinburg.
Applause thundered on Sunday’s final performance Nov. 21.
Director Trey Mikolasky did a real job of making this odd classic work, aided by many stage specialists.
The cast of eight managed to speak enough of the Queen’s English to fake it neatly without making South Texans overdo the accents. Having seen several plays in London, I congratuate these hard workers who learned several samples of the British accents.
It is likely that this university will revive it again in the next few years. If it does, don’t miss it.
Marisa Saavedra-Flores plays the victim — or is she the murderer? — of one of the best murder mysteries ever put on stage.
She runs the gauntlet of the victim and then perhaps of the murderer. Let’s save the finish until you can see it for yourself.
Fernando Olivares plays the friend and lover as the visitor to Marisa’s home and his best friend.
Then Mitchell Reinitz rounds out the trio by showing up unexpectedly to find his wife happily drinking with the friend.
Some of the best dialogue you will hear involves the trio, who are all lying and smiling and plotting. This play was first performed in London, a super hit in 1952. The author was Fredrick Knott.
This is so good it was later directed as a movie by Alfred Hitchcock, starring Grace Kelly and Ray Milland.
As late as 1985, the movie was made for it with a new title, “A Perfect Murderer.”
On the stage, everyone keeps guessing who the murderer is until the climax, so we won’t give it away here.
The rest of the cast all seem just right for this show and add enormous suspense as well as comedy.
Policemen played by Albert Mancha and Charlie Palacios plus other suspects of some sort or another by Joel A. Garza, Aaron Stidwell and Daniel Roman also are likely to cherish this great mystery-murder as long as they live.
The final performance kept people alternately gasping and laughing, and the ending made me laugh by relief, then worry whether it really was a murder. If anyone can tell me what actually happened, please let me know.
The UT Pan American theater made me both shudder and laugh at a murder mystery, out of all I have seen for many years in that category. If there is a re-run, I hope to figure out what really happened. Everyone working on it deserves being named, but there are dozens and I will mention only the expert set designer, Tom Grabowski; technical director Mike Salazar; costume designer Jennifer Saxton; stage manager Cassandra Dean; and costume head Christy Ecaymuzquiz.
Having seen more than half of all the plays at UT Pan American in the past 40 years and more, I think this has made the top 10 as one of the best ever.