Prince George’s Little Theatre’s A Shot in the Dark, adapted by Harry Kurnitz from the French play L’ldiote by Marcel Achard is a French farce that is dialogue-driven and reliant on comedic timing. Set in Paris, France in 1962, the action takes place in the chamber of an Examining Magistrate’s office. Director Keith Brown’s set design is comprised of two desks, several chairs with filing cabinets, and a leather-laden double doors center stage. Roy Peterson is the producer and Linda Swann offers her costume design talents. The men are sharply dressed in tailored suits with narrow ties, indicative of the early 1960’s era. The women each don a sophisticated ensemble that matches their personality.
The show opens with the Magistrate Paul Sevigne (Matt Leyendecker) getting interrogation instructions from Morestan (Martin Hayes). Hayes has very little dialogue in the first act, but is quite humorous with his facial expressions and gestures. Leyendecker is stylish and charming against Hayes’ wisdom and age. These two take the stage for the entire show and Leyendecker maintains the investigative questioning (dialogue) throughout. He is strong and firm as the Magistrate with varying inflection in his voice but when it comes to his wife, Antoinette Sevigne (Lea Scherini), he becomes a bit of a playboy.
Scherini is the innocent, pampered wife that wants to be seen as more than just that. Her slick baby blue suit and white gloves contradicts Scherini’s shared borderline chemistry with Leyendecker. Unfortunately, it is the Magistrate that squelches their tantalizing flirtations because he must interrogate the very alluring maid.
Josefa Lantenay (Erica Jureckson) is the young, sexy maid that heard the shot in the dark and was discovered in her bedroom nude, along with the body of her Spanish lover and a gun by her side. Jureckson is remarkable in this role from her spunky hairstyle to her sultry mannerisms. Add to that is her high energy that is counter-acted by her fidgeting and she brings a nervous truth to this character. Despite her seductive behavior and stunning red wrap-dress, Josefa still has a moral compassion and a determination in protecting her employer.
Benjamin Beaurevers (Brian Binney) is quite playful with Jureckson as they flirt their way through the Magestrate’s line of questioning. Quite handsome, Binney is confident and carries himself well in this role. As Benjamin, he has a comical side which opposes his very beautiful and sophisticated wife’s behavior, Dominique Beaurevers (Mary Koster). Koster plays the classy character in this production and holds her own against the quirkiness of the other characters. She is very poised in her navy suit and fur.
Lablache, the Deputy Chief Prosecutor (Danny Brooks) looks like Walter Cronkite and is a smart bureaucrat with an air of casual authority that advises the Magistrate to get a quick confession and send Josefa off to prison to avoid inconveniencing the Beaurevers.
The Guard (Patrick O’Connell) is a supporting role that assists the Magistrate in escorting the suspects to and from the Magistrate’s chambers.
An ingenious ‘whodunit,” A Shot in the Dark is also a cheeky comedy with a very dramatic outlook on love and passion. There are plenty of surprises throughout the show that steadily move the plotline along and keep the audience guessing to the end.
Prince George’s Little Theatre’s A Shot in the Dark is a solid production with a talented cast, that’s perfect to take in on a cold winter’s day or night.
Running Time: Approximately two hours, with a 15-minute intermission.
A Shot in the Dark plays at Prince George’s Little Theatre through January 24, 2015 performing at The Bowie Playhouse – 16500 White Marsh Park Drive, in Bowie, Maryland. For tickets, call (301) 937-7458, or purchase them at the door or online.