By Rizal Raoul Reyes
Comic thrillers is one the staple menus of Repertory Philippines. We can say that the theater company founded by the late Zenaida Amador and Carmen Barredo has effectively mastered this genre that has become quite popular with the Filipino audience.
To start 2016 in a hilarious and thrilling note, it recently staged Ken Ludwig’s “The Game’s Afoot” to open its 79th season.
Written by Ludwig in 2011, the play evolves around William Gillette (played by Paul Holme), a Broadway star who has become famous for his excellent portrayal of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s famous detective Sherlock Holmes.
The thrill starts to kick in when Gillette was hit in the shoulder by a shot coming from the audience in the final bow of the actors during its performance in Broadway in December 1936.
While recuperating from the wound, Gillette was determined to get the truth behind the attempted murder. Since it was the Christmas season, he decided to invite his friends for a week of fun in his tony home in Connecticut.
While they were having fun, the group heard the news that the door man at the theater was mysteriously killed. At this time, Gillette was determined to get the killer. Suspense gets into a higher gear when columnist Daria Chase (portrayed by Pinky Amador) was stabbed in the Gillette’s mansion. For Gillette, it was time to get into action and of course through his favorite persona, Sherlock Holmes.
Director Miguel Faustmann has successfully shown how to maintain the level of excitement and make the audience figure out who is/are the masterminds of the crime.
Faustmann believes the staging of “The Game’s Afoot” is quite timely especially for the millennial that gets instant information on social media. Through this play, the younger generation is being taught to appreciate the process in seeking the truth.
The cast gave a wonderful performance to the delight of the weekend audience.
Stage thespian Joy Virata (Martha Gillette) was in her usual brilliant element playing Gillette’s forgetful but caring mother.
Jeremy Domingo (Felix Geisel) has become a regular fixture in Rep comedies. In fact, he has managed to establish a rapport with the audience when he plays a role that will make them laugh.
Christine Flores (Madge Geisel) delivered a capable performance as a supporting wife of Felix.
Micaela Pineda (Aggie Wheeler) and Hans Eckstein (Simon Bright) were impressive in their roles as the scheming couple who wanted to manipulate each other to advance their own interests. Pineda successfully managed to put the impression to the audience that Southern belles have a naive person later to find out that she was a scheming fortune hunter.
Amador, a veteran of London’s West End, was unrecognizable as the bitchy columnist. The delivery of her British accent was impeccable.
Natalie Everett (as Inspector Goring) was a bundle of joy to watch as she played the role of an aspiring Shakespearean actress with great enthusiasm.
Last, but not the least, Holme has given great justice in his role as Gillette. Being British, perhaps it was easier for the veteran stage actor to give the Filipino audience an idea of how the great British detective thinks and acts to solve a murder mystery.
Faustmann says the Philippine entertainment needs to get a dose of mystery and intrigue.
Furthermore, he made it sure the audience is involved in the search of the killer. You are just reminded of Agatha Christie’s plays. It is a good intellectual workout that can also enhance logical thinking.
February 2016 Health and Lifestyle