Many twists await the audience in the farcical comedy “While the Lights Were Out.” Playwright Jack Sharkey combines an old-fashioned murder mystery with an ample amount of comedic silliness.
~Review and Photos by Dana Nöllsch~
The Story of While the Lights Were Out
The play starts with the characters attending a dinner party in Bermuda hosted by a British couple who have many relationship challenges. The cast of characters is as diverse as the many secrets they keep. As you would expect, there is a constable who is a bit of a bumbling fool, but he is smart enough to bring his much more clever partner.
Things are going along just fine until the lights go out, and a shot is heard ringing out. When the lights come back on, there is a blond standing over the body, holding a bloody knife. One would think that the circumstances put an obvious conclusion to the murder, but wait, there’s more.
When the constable examines the corpse, he discovers that the victim was strangled, not stabbed, and not shot. There are many accusations from the guest as the prime suspect shifts from one person to the next. This is just the start of the silliness in this fun-filled, twisty murder mystery.
Keep your eyes open as the fast-paced mystery unfolds in very unexpected ways. For those of you who pride yourselves on following the clues to find the culprit first, you will have fun.
Here are Some Photos from the production
What about the Performances
This cast of 15 is undoubtedly a powerhouse of talent. As you would expect, the cast’s size reflects the characters’ variety. This is a well-blended cast who are unafraid to play off each other for the audience’s benefit.
I would be remiss if I did not mention the two at the center of the mystery, the detectives. These two are featured in every scene.
The two police officers are the thread that binds the story together. Ian Sorensen plays Detective Benjamin Braddock, the good-hearted but slightly dim lawman. Claire Hachenberger plays Officer Alma Threedle, the uber-observant partner who is always taking notes. These two are wonderful in playing off each other, following the clues, and testing the suspects.
The rest of the cast have their moments of character building, and they do that brilliantly. When the play is over, the audience feels they know each character. This is a mark of a fine actor, and While the Lights Were Out is undoubtedly filled with many fine actors.
When we saw While the Lights Were Out, the theatre was filled with high school drama students. Opening the preview performance up to the high schools is something special the Reno Little Theater does for the community. Seeing the reaction of these young people is heartwarming. In this case, the student audience was very vocal in their appreciation of the actors on stage. This was fine praise indeed.
The Bottom Line
If you like a good who-done-it, you will enjoy While the Lights Were Out. If you enjoy a silly, farcical comedy, you will like While the Lights Were Out. If you wish both, you will be overjoyed.
Be prepared for a long play, at 2 hours and 15 minutes, plus an intermission with a steady stream of twists and turns throughout. Although the first half goes by in the blink of a misplaced gunshot, the second half is where the real mystery sets in.
While the Lights Were Out
By Jack Sharkey
Directed by: Libby Bakke
Ian Sorensen as Benjamin Braddock
Claire Hachenberger as Alma Threedle
Holly Lorge as Lady Monica Wickenham
Darcy Lenardson as Jasmine Perdoo
Christopher Ross as Algernon Wickenham
Jim Winkler as Lord Clive Wickenham
Bryce Keil as Pierre Pourri
Michael Davanzo as Roderick Remley
Tara Rispin as Bibi Cavendish
Ryan Costello as Tom Goggins
Elise Van Dyne as Chloe Custardine
Robin Soli as Fredonia Custardine
Ilyana Nightingale as U.B.
Judy Davis Rounds as Nancy Stafford
Karly Tilman as Mimosa
Katie Hughes as Understudy
Asst. Direction: Jared Lively & Jess Poeppelman
Stage Managers: Benjamin Browder & Riley Kveton
Scenic, Lighting, Prop, & Sound Designer: Chad Sweet
Accent & Dialect Coach: Rosie Brownlow-Calkin
Intimacy Director: Thomas Rao
Costumer: Gene Brown
Dramaturg: Luis Galvez
January 19, 20*, 25, 26, 27, 25 Feb. 1, 2, 3, 8, 9, 10 @ 7:30pm
January 21, 28**, Feb. 4†, 11 @ 2pm
*denotes PAY-WHAT-YOU-WISH performance
**denotes talk-back performance
† denotes captioned performance