Beckwith opens production of ‘Murder at the Vicarage’ Friday
Published 8:00 am Wednesday, July 8, 2015
Another night of good old-fashioned intrigue, suspense and mystery await visitors to the Beckwith Theatre Company the next two weekends, as the Dowagiac theater group presents Agatha Christie’s “Murder at the Vicarage.”
The new production opens on Friday, and runs from July 10-12 and July 17-19. Showtime begins at 7:30 p.m. for Friday and Saturday showings and at 2 p.m. for Sunday shows.
Adapted from the English crime novelist’s 1930 book of the same name, the play is set in the small British village of St. Mary Mead.
After the much reviled Colonel Lucius Protheroe is found murdered at the home of the local vicar, several people confess to the crime, leaving the village’s elderly spinster Jane Marple to determine which of the seven suspects was responsible for the killing.
“There’s a good twist at the end,” said Jack Gannon, the director of the Beckwith production. “It’s not something that’s guessable but it doesn’t feel it came from out of left field, either.”
The play was the debut of Christie’s second reoccurring “detective,” Miss Marple, who is played by Peggy Gannon in the upcoming Beckwith rendition.
This is the third Christie murder in as many years helmed by Jack Gannon. The theater company produced “The Mousetrap,” arguably the author’s most famous work, in 2013, followed by “The Hollow” the following year. Both plays were popular among Beckwith theatergoers, Gannon said.
The 12-person cast for this latest production is a combination of Beckwith veterans and a few newcomers to the company, Gannon said. Many of the returning cast members have starred in the previous murder mystery productions, developing a great dynamic with one another in the process, the director said.
“Like any Agatha Christie story, the play depends a lot on character development and character interactions,” Gannon said. “And this cast does those two things very, very well.”
Veterans of the Beckwith say the four newcomers for this year’s productions have fit in well, and have really been gelling together as they approach Friday’s opening curtain.
“We could feel the chemistry from the first read through,” said Kathryn Quirk, who plays Lettice Protheroe, the daughter of the murder victim. “We all get along great.”
After eight weeks of long nights in preparation for the two sets of shows, the cast and production crew are excited for the play’s upcoming debut. Visitors to the shows are sure to be in for a night of thrills, Gannon said.
“It’s Agatha Christie,” Gannon said “Her plays are always exciting and always intriguing.”
Tickets for the show cost $10. For reservations, people can call (269) 782-7653.
Rev. Leonard Clement: Jeff Starkey
Griselda Clement: Rebecca Maxey
Dennis: James Huffman
Mary: Andrea Creasbaum
Ronald Hawes: Brian Beckwith
Lettice Protheroe: Kathryn Quirk
Miss Marple: Peggy Gannon
Mrs. Price-Ridley: Miriam Bat-Ami
Anne Protheroe: Jessie Curtis
Lawrence Redding: Michael Clarkson
Dr. John Haydock: Mike Frazier
Inspector Slack: Ryan Murray
Constable Jennings: Bill Stockwell
Jennifer Schaus, Stage Crew/Props
Sara DeMaria, Assistant Director
Jack Gannon, Director