‘Go Back for Murder’ at Rockville Little Theatre

What is more exciting to watch than a story based on Murder? Intrigue? Romance? Seduction? Well look no further than Rockville Little Theatre’s production of Agatha Christie’s Go Back for Murder to get your dose of thrilling crime fiction. Based on Christie’s novel Five Little Pigs, Go Back for Murder takes you into the investigation of murder, led by a heroine looking to exonerate her mother who was convicted of killing of her father in her early childhood. Rockville Little Theatre and Director David Levin prevail in their exhilarating production of the archetypal Agatha Christie play.

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Director Levin and Producer Laura W. Andruski assemble an able group of designers. The play is set in several locations designed precisely by Set Designer Maggie Modig. Modig, used designs simple enough to be easily transformed for each scene but detailed enough to transport the audience into the timeframe of the story. The most exquisite design is an old house and yard where the murderess story takes place; Modig smartly uses different levels of staging to open sightlines for the different scenes.

Costume Designer Laura Andruski, with assistance from Andrea Kibbe, does a beautiful job with her designs. My favorite was the garb worn by leading lady Carla Le Marchant/Caroline Crale, played by Jenn Robinson. It was hard to keep track of all of the different garments worn by Robinson, but each was perfectly thought out and fit the time period in which they were worn. I especially enjoyed the 1940’s apparel, including a stunning maroon dress.

Sound Designer Nick Sampson used the type of music one would expect for s mystery of this genre, perfectly timing the eerie music and adding entertaining moments during some of the longer scene changes.

Director Levin has a talented group of actors and each member of the cast delivers a terrific performance.

Jenn Robinson plays the most difficult role of the night, doubling as the heroine Carla and her Mother Caroline. She is striking in the role and captures each character well, but I particularly liked her portrayal of Caroline, the accused. In this role Robinson gave a very commendable performance especially in her interactions with her husband Amyas (Peter Harrold). Her British accent was dead-on. Kudos to Dialect Coach Pauline Griller-Mitchell.

Thomas Leo McGrath (Justin Fogg) is stoic and poised as Carla’s lawyer and sometimes narrator. His servant is played with distinguished appeal by Al Golden. The mousier of the two Blake brothers is played by Len Breslow, who adds some of the more comedic moments of the show. Also notable is Hillary Glass as the put-upon governess and Gemma Davimes as Angela Warren’s caretaker. Davimes is so convincing as her older self, as she tells the story of the murder of her father to her sister, Carla. Also a special bravo to Dean Fiala in his small but very enjoyable take on Carla’s loathsome fiancé Jeff Rogers.

The standout performances of the evening are Lauren Patton (Lady Elsa Melksham), Ken Kemp (Philip Blake) and Peter Harrold (Amyas Crale). Patton plays the austere Lady Elsa, and is compelling as an upper class lady, and she also easily turned back into the youthful seductress of her younger years. Kemp personifies the self-assured Philip Blake – exuding a charm one might attribute to our favorite businessmen on the show Mad Men. Finally, Peter Harrold is a natural on the stage. His excellent portrayal of the murdered party culminates in the second act with the final re-enactment of the death scene, which is the ‘take-your-breath-away’ moment of the evening.

Catch Rockville Little Theatre’s Go Back for Murder. It only plays for one more weekend. Don’t miss it!

So, who dunit? I am sworn to silence.

Running time: Two hours,with one 15 minute intermission

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Go Back for Murder  plays through January 25, 2015 at the F. Scott Fitzgerald Theatre at The Rockville Civic Center- 603 Edmonston Drive, in Rockville, MD. For tickets, call (240) 314-8690, or buy them at the box office. Here are directions.

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