Review: Something’s Afoot AKA Murder Most Fun

The cast of Something’s Afoot at The 5th Avenue Theatre. (Photo Credit: Tracy Martin)

Something’s Afoot
5th Avenue Theatre
Through March 24, 2024 get tickets and more info here. 

Something’s Afoot is a musical mystery parody of Agatha Christie classics. Currently playing at Seattle’s 5th Avenue Theatre, this little produced musical is pure escapism and a lot of fun. Taking the stereotypical English tropes (and running with them), the show is delightfully presented, well-acted, and a silly good time.

The plot of Something’s Afoot is reminiscent of almost any English murder mystery of the early 1900’s, especially that of Agatha Christie’s brilliant classic “And Then There Were None” (sometimes published as “Ten Little Indians”). A group of eccentric guests are invited to an English manor. The complete number of people at the manor includes: The wealthy host Lord Dudley Rancour, an English maid, the butler, the household handyman, a doctor, Lord Rancour’s nephew (the only living heir to the family fortune), a young woman (who never met the host), a Colonel, an eccentric Lady, and Miss Tweed, who is an amateur sleuth. The house is located on an island with a single road that connects it to the mainland. Each guest thinks they are to be the sole guest dining with their host Lord Rancour, and are surprised to find the others there. A storm occurs, which washes out the bridge and isolates the guests at the house with no escape route. A young man, that no one seems to know, suddenly appears having been washed ashore from his college row team. They soon discover their host, Lord Rancour, has been murdered. Immediately after the announcement, another murder occurs. One by one the guests begin to die in various ways, until only a few are left and the mystery is resolved.

The cast of Something’s Afoot all do a good job. There really is no ensemble cast members, and each character on stage stands as an English stereotype of their time, which makes it easier (and quicker) for the audience to grasp who they are. Porscha Shaw plays Lettie, the maid and does so with a humorous flounce and bounce that reminds the audience of a Bette Midler character from the early 1980’s. Ms. Shaw has become a staple on the 5th Avenue stage, and for good reason – she delivers. Brandon O’Neill plays the handyman Flint, and is another recognized face at the 5th Avenue. Mr. O’Neill brings a new appeal to this tried-and-true caricature of English mysteries. The two characters shine when they sing the ‘music hall’ type number “Dingey”, complete with entendre and clever rapport. Allen Fitzpatrick plays Colonel Gillweathert, while Anne Allgood plays Lady Grace Marley-Prowe. Each of these characters harbors a secret, that is slowly and hysterically revealed, and the two characters definitely add to the comedic portion of the show. Jonathan Luke Stevens plays Geoffrey, the young lad who mysteriously appears at the manor, and Ashley Lanyon plays Hope Langton, the young female guest who has never met her host. The two characters are the ‘romantics’ and become instantly attracted to one another, until they both start to suspect the other.

The cast of Something’s Afoot at The 5th Avenue Theatre. (Photo Credit: Mark Kitaoka)

The star of this show, if there really is one, is the indomitable Sarah Rudinoff who plays Miss Tweed. The energetic sleuth is a delightful combination of tropes that includes the busy-body behavior of Jessica Fletcher; the amazingly clever deductions of Miss Marple, and the absurd arrogance of Sherlock Holmes. She spends the most time on stage and holds the spot well from her humorous entrance, to the wild deductions she makes throughout the show.

A definite shout out goes to the Scenic Designer Carey Wong. The set puts the audience into the center of an English manor. Every detail has been taken into consideration to let the audience immediately comprehend exactly what the atmosphere is from the moment the curtain rises. The attention to the clever traps were done extremely well, and the audience didn’t notice what was happening until the characters on stage met their doom.

Something’s Afoot is a fun show. The music, lyrics and book are written by James McDonald, David Vos and Robert Gerlach (with additional music by Ed Linderman). While the songs are fun, and memorable in the moment, they tended not to linger long afterwards. Something’s Afoot provides good escapism, entertaining characters, laughs throughout, and an all-around good time. The amateur armchair sleuths in the audience may raise an eyebrow at a plot hole in the story, but that will be left for them to discover.

Something’s Afoot opened on Broadway May 27 – July 18, 1976. It ran for 61 performances.

 

 

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Eric Andrews-Katz

Eric Andrews-Katz

Eric Andrews-Katz has short stories included in over 10 anthologies. He is the author of the Agent Buck 98 Series (“The Jesus Injection” and “Balls & Chain”), and the author of the Greek myth series beginning with the novel TARTARUS. He has conducted celebrity interviews with some of the biggest and best names on Broadway, Hollywood and in literature. He can be found at: http://www.EricAndrewsKatz.com

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