By Cassidy Foulds
The 2016/2017 season started on a good note after the Cambridge Community Players performed The Game’s Afoot, a show that not only kept the audience thinking, but it kept them grinning.
The play, written by Ken Ludwig and directed by Patsy McCleery, is set in the 1930s, and revolves around a group of actors. Broadway star William Gillette, played by Randolph J. Johnston, invites all of his acting buddies to his mansion after he is almost killed on stage. When one of his guests is murdered, Gillette slips into his character persona, which happens to be Sherlock Holmes, in an attempt to solve the crime.
The entire play took place in the living room of Gillette’s Connecticut mansion, needing only the one room to create a multitude of scenes and atmospheres. On one wall were two portraits, one of them being Gillette’s deceased wife. On the adjacent wall, there was a decorative wall of weapons that ranged from firearms to small blades. Beside it, a bust of King Tut and a victrola. As the play progressed, it became clear the audience was to pay attention to the décor.
The play is set up in the typical sense as all characters and their histories are introduced. Many hints are given toward who the real killer is, keeping the audience guessing. The play ends with a lovable cliché twist. Then, quite literally, at the very last second of the play, the real and unexpected twist is revealed.
What was most striking in this performance was how easily the actors slipped into that perfect film noir comedy style, complete with the perfectly timed humour, expressions and twists. It was like watching a live performance of Arsenic and Old Lace. What really helped keep that tone were the characters’ costumes and makeup, which were done to a T. Interestingly, Randolph J. Johnston looks like the late actor Robert Young, a most likely unintentional coincidence that added to William Gillette’s odd personality.
Overall, the acting was well done, with too many unique personalities to call out. The cast worked well together, which showed on stage, especially when someone would accidentally say the wrong thing and delve into hilarious ad libbing with everyone in the scene.
Many audience members left after the play with grins on their faces, and many were heard making plans to come back the next night to see the same play once more.
The Game’s Afoot kicked off the 2016/2017 season. The Cambridge Community Players will put on three more plays: A Dickens Christmas Carol, Albertine in Five Times and Don’t Dress for Dinner.
Tickets for future performances can be purchased at www.cambridgecommunityplayers.com.