Pioneer Playhouse of Danville, Kentucky’s oldest outdoor theatre, finishes its regular 2016 play season with the reprisal of a past favorite from its 67 years under the stars, The Murder Room, a zany spoof of British murder mysteries by Jack Sharkey.
The Murder Room opens on August 9 and runs through August 20. The play starts with a murder – or does it? As audience members soon learn, things are not always what they appear in this hilarious send-up of all crime thrillers.
As the play opens, Edgar Hollister, an upper crust eccentric, goes missing and his new, younger wife, Mavis, is suspiciously unconcerned. Has Edgar met with foul play, or is it all part of an elaborate hoax involving a pair of bumbling country detectives, a doddering maid, a ditzy daughter and her equally ditzy American fiancé? Throw in lots of secret chambers, secret panels, and trap doors that seem to mysteriously malfunction at the most hilarious moments, and it’s a recipe for constant laughs.
The Murder Room stars Pioneer Playhouse regulars, Erika S. Lee (Mavis), Liam McDermott (Edgar), and Patricia Hammond (Lottie), as well as familiar faces from the 2016 season, Walter Pigford (Barry) and Peggy Ellyn (Susan). Also making an appearance in this production is Bob Singleton (James), an actor, director and educator who has been active in the Lexington theatre scene for many years.
The classic mystery-comedy, which is set in the British countryside in the early 1970’s, is directed by Gia Forakis, who appeared on the Playhouse stage as an actress many summers ago and who has gone on to become a successful director, playwright, and acting coach in her own right. She is the founder and Artistic Director of Gia Forakis & Company, an ensemble of professional actors based in New York City. They perform plays using the performance technique Forakis developed herself, One-Thought-One-Action (OTOA.) Forakis, along with her company, just mounted a critically acclaimed production of Song from the Uproar: The Lives and Deaths of Isabelle Eberhardt at the prestigious Redcat theatre in Los Angeles.
While The Murder Room marks the end of the regular season of plays at the Kentucky landmark theatre, a final stand-up comedy weekend starring perennial favorite, Etta May, will be held for two days only on August 26 and 27.
Opening for Etta May this year will be Lexington comedian Joe Deuce, who played one of the bootlegging Rum Brothers in this year’s “Kentucky Voices” hit, Good Blues Tonight!
The Murder Room will be performed nightly, Tuesdays through Saturdays, at 8:30 pm, starting August 9. Dinner before the show at 7:30 pm is optional and features slow-smoked BBQ pulled pork or chicken, roasted Parmesan potatoes, farm fresh sides and fruit cobbler. (Vegetarian option is available if ordered 24 hours in advance.) A bar serving wine, beer, and mixed drinks will be open for those 21 and over.
Reservations are recommended for the show, required for dinner. (Dinner & Show: $32; Show Only: $18.)
Pioneer Playhouse is located at 840 Stanford Road in Danville, Kentucky. Shows are held outside in a historic amphitheater but moved indoors in case of rain or extreme heat. For more information and for reservations, please call the box office at 859-236-2747 (local) or 866-KYPLAYS (toll-free). You can also order your tickets online.