If you hate to solve a murder on an empty stomach, Fort Mill Community Playhouse has an intriguing idea. Beginning Thursday, April 24, they're offering Agatha Christie's most enduring stage mystery, "The Mousetrap," Thursday through Saturday nights at 7:30 p.m. To sharpen your crime-solving wits, coffee and desserts will be served at intermission.
FMCP's Drama & Dessert concept is new for 2008, says director Sheri Marvin. The New Jersey transplant, a Fort Mill resident for the past 10 years, has been active chiefly in the company's youth sector, dating back to 2002. Among the shows she has directed, "Anne of Green Gables" in 2005 was probably her most ambitious project.
Murder and suspense in the legendary Agatha Christie style are new frontiers for Marvin.
"I made the leap into pure adult drama with this production, so I'm really enjoying it," Marvin confesses. "I joined the board of directors [at FMCP] this year, and we've decided to do something new to add to our schedule, which is Drama & Dessert. 'Mousetrap' was actually chosen by the previous play reading committee, but I thought it was a great dramatic play, one of Agatha Christie's best. It certainly isn't boring in any way. There's excitement, and there's even some humorous parts. I like the combination."
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We're in England, of course, at the Monkswell Manor B&B run by Mollie and Giles Ralston.
"They are played by a real-life couple," Marvin says, "Tara Nicole Watts and her boyfriend Michael Pleasant. So I thought that was a nice touch for them to be motivated with each other. Then the guests start off with Christopher Wren (Tom Moody), who is an eccentric man; Mrs. Boyle (Basia Watts), who is a matron and dissatisfied with life; Major Metcalfe (George Weldon), a military man; and a woman, Miss Casewell (Angela Luksch), who also has her eccentricities."
So much for the expected guests. The plot thickens.
"Then the unknown caller, the person who didn't make a reservation, which is Mr. Paravincini. Of course, one of the main characters is the sergeant, the policeman who comes in to solve the crime. That is Sergeant Trotter, an English bobby with mysteries of his own."
Fingers are pointed everywhere in this tangled mystery - only the murder victim is above suspicion.
"We've got the right people," Marvin says of her cast. "There's no doubt, from the time a character walks on stage, what you are expected to know about that character. And I say that because there's always that hidden level of mystery!"
Adult tickets for the "Mousetrap" drama and dessert package, presented at 615 Banks Street, are $12 for adults and $9 for intrepid students and seniors. Reservations are taken at www.fortmillplayhouse.com and at Crossings in Fort Mill on Academy Street.
So what's for dessert? We refuse to divulge that information - or whodunit.