‘The Game’s Afoot’ at McLean Community Players

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The Game’s Afoot, and the evening promises suspense, hilarity, and entertainment for all who brave the McLean Community Players’ romp of a whodunit.

The cast of 'The Game's Afoot.' The cast of 'The Game's Afoot.' Photo by Toby Chieffo-Reidway/Irish Eyes Photography by Toby.

The cast of ‘The Game’s Afoot.’ The cast of ‘The Game’s Afoot.’ Photo by Toby Chieffo-Reidway/Irish Eyes Photography by Toby.

Ken Ludwig’s The Game’s Afoot, or Holmes for the Holidays looks at what happens when an actor famous for his portrayal of Sherlock Holmes invites the cast of his latest play to his isolated Connecticut home for Christmas Eve. Hijinks ensue as fact and fantasy collide and the actor finds himself impersonating Sherlock Holmes to get to the bottom of some shady theatrical dealings.

Director Bob Sams keeps the pace moving, particularly in the farcical second act. He – and the talented ensemble (Melissa Dunlap, Frank Gorrell, Kathryn Johnsyon, Elizabeth Replogle, Carolyn Schaumburg, Michael Schwartz, Dina Soltan, and Stephen T. Wheeler) deserve full credit for maintaining a lively pace and never allowing the action to falter.

Frank Gorrell turns in a charming and multifaceted performance as William Gillette, the actor with a Sherlock Holmes complex. Dina Soltan is delightfully over-the-top as the nefarious theatre critic Daria Chase. Elizabeth Replogle proves her problem solving mettle as the befuddled and endearingly British Inspector Goring. Melissa Dunlap, Kathryn Johnston, Carolyn Schaumburg, and Michael Schwartz round out the cast of unlikely suspects with humor.

However, amongst a talented ensemble, Stephen T. Wheeler is a standout as the philandering Felix Geisel. Wheeler’s comic timing is impeccable and he has a scene stealing turn in the second act that involves hiding evidence (I can’t give more away for fear of spoilers).

Carolyn Schaumburg and Michael Schwartz  in 'The Game's Afoot.' Photo by Toby Chieffo-Reidway/Irish Eyes Photography by Toby.

Carolyn Schaumburg and Michael Schwartz in ‘The Game’s Afoot.’ Photo by Toby Chieffo-Reidway/Irish Eyes Photography by Toby.

Bill Glikbarg’s set is intricate and beautiful, with all of the revolving doors and secret passages any self-respecting mystery lover could ask. His design is beautifully enhanced by the lighting design of Lynne Glikbarg and Lauren Thomas. Carl Brandt Long deserves special credit for making the fight choreography look effortless and natural.

McLean Community Players’ The Game’s Afoot, or Holmes for the Holidays is a laugh-out-loud evening of farce and suspense.

Running Time: 2 hours and 10 minutes, including one-15 minute intermission.

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The Game’s Afoot, or Holmes for the Holidays plays through October 12, 2014, at the McLean Community Center’s Alden Theatre – 1234 Ingleside Avenue, in McLean, VA. For tickets, call the Alden Box Office, through OvationTix at (866) 811-4111, or purchase them online.

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