When has death by gunshot, gassing, poison, strangulation, bombs and mutilation ever been remotely funny? Gales of laughter erupted uproariously at the dramatic deaths during Bishop Ireton High School’s fall production of "Something’s Afoot," by James McDonald, David Vos, Robert Gerlach and Ed Linderman.
"Something’s Afoot" premiered in 1972 before becoming a nationally renowned musical in 1976. The musical spoofs the works of British mystery writers, paying special attention to Agatha Christie and her novel "And Then There Were None." The story starts when a cast of high-society London characters are all invited to the esteemed Lord Rancour’s lake estate for a weekend of relaxation. When Lord Rancour is discovered dead, the characters begin dying as well, leaving the survivors and Miss Tweed, a parody of Agatha Christie’s famous detective Miss Marple, to discover the murderer.
Bishop Ireton’s behind-the-scenes production team elevated the show out of the realm of high school theatre. The student-made period costumes, two-story set, and perfectly on-time special effects in "Something’s Afoot" assisted the actors in taking the audience out of modern-day Alexandria, Virginia and into 1930s England.
Bishop Ireton's Sarah Moffit tackled the role of the elderly Miss Tweed with passion. It was not just the gray hair and long, plaid skirts that suggested she was an older woman, but the mischievous twinkle in her eye and spritely, but stiff physicality that made us believe we were watching "Grandma" on the stage.Aside from her impressive age transformation, Moffit milked every comedic line and was constantly engaged in the piece, reacting to everything with a wry grin.
The young ingénue Hope Langdon was played beautifully by Brenna Carroll who exuded youthfulness and goodness with every perfectly hit high note. In addition Carroll’s chemistry with her love Geoffrey played by Joey Ledonio was hot and sweet at the same time. Ledonio expertly delivered each of his jokes with the timing needed for a musical comedy.
Every member of the 11-person cast of "Something’s Afoot" had a shining moment whether they were on stage for the whole show or if they were killed off in the first five minutes. The servant team of maid Lettie, played by Catherine Schreiber and handyman Flint, played by Joseph Green joyfully poked fun at the bourgeois guests, delivering each line with sass. Their song together “Dinghy” had seriously sharp dance moments and many gleeful double-entendres.
The technical team was en pointe in this production. When the curtain opened showing the audience the ornate, two-story, luxurious mansion with working swinging doors on both levels a collective gasp ran through the audience. To add to its impressiveness it was student-designed and built. In order for the show to work, the special effects had to be perfectly timed. Each effect brought the audience to laughter and made the show’s slapstick comedy style work beautifully.
The precise comic timing of the actors and the intricate set built by the tech team in Bishop Ireton High School’s production of "Something’s Afoot" proved that they have strong teams on both sides of the curtain.