“While the Lights were Out” many nefarious acts took place, but the butler didn’t do it. The Cornerstone Theatre group brought the play by Jack Sharkey to life on the stage of the Carlyle Memorial Hall with dinner theatres on Friday, April 28, and Saturday, April 29, with a matinee show on Sunday, April 30.
All proceeds from the performances and dinners go back into supporting the Carlyle Memorial Hall. Recently this has included renovations to the ladies washroom in the theatre, which now has an extra stall as well as being wheel chair accessible, with work done by Paul Twietmeyer.
The whodunit murder mystery farce had the crowd laughing and wondering who could have committed an act of murder… or two murders?
The play opened on Lord and Lady Wickenham (David Slykhuis and Colleen Easton) at their estate in Bermuda where they were to host a number of individuals including their son – Algernon (Monte McNaughton), his fiancé – a fashion mogul – Bibi Cavendish (Bertha Isleifson), a French sailor – Pierre Pourri, family – Fredonia Custardine (Heather Vermeersch) and Chloe Custardine (Bryanne Forcier), as well as Jasmine Perdoo (Denise Singleton) a woman from the southern United States.
While Lord and Lady Wickenham await their guests, a troubling knock at the door is answered by the butler, Roderick Remley (Don Carter), who ushers in Chief Inspector Benjamin Braddock (Jesse Twietmeyer) and his associate Alma Threedle (Mel Gessell). A note had arrived for Braddock to be sent to the house; the note was in a Calypso style pointing to the Jamaican maid, Mimosa (Sandra Campbell).
Although, this presents Braddock’s first befuddled inference, that it must have been Nancy Stafford (Debbie Sorensen), as she comes in to speak with Lady Wickenham in a strange tongue… as the Chief Inspector accuses Nancy, she moistens her lips and explains that she’s been licking stamps all day and her tongue was simply dry.
As the play progresses the audience, along with Jasmine Perdoo, discovers numerous lies and affairs amongst the characters that have all come to the estate.
Then when the lights flicker off, then on due to a storm the stage is set for the detectives to solve a murder. During the blackout gunfire rang out, a painting is stolen and replaced with a forgery, a bloody message is seen above the victims desk, and a mysterious blonde woman (Candy Bye) is standing next to the body holding a bloody knife. Yet, when the detective checks the body of the dead man – Lord Wickenham – it is discovered he had been strangled.
To calm her nerves Jasmine Perdoo downs a glass of bourbon and clutching her throat, drops to the floor, dead.
As theories and accusations are unravelled and mysteries solved, we are introduced to Mimosa’s fiancé –Tom Groggins – who she was to run away with.
Throughout the play, Braddock develops numerous theories which prove to be wrong. Thankfully Braddock has Threedle with him, who is writing a novel, and wants her lead detective to not be a bumbling fool, thus often takes over the reveal or explains to him first, so he is able to unveil what has happened.
As they recreate what happened during the blackout, it is discovered that only one murder took place, despite Pourri’s best efforts. Lord Wickenham was resuscitated after Pourri attempted to strangle him when he was being moved from the room. It had been Lord Wickenham’s plan to fake his murder, so he would not be in the room when, Jasmine Perdoo drank the cyanide laced bourbon as Miss Perdoo knew about Lord Wickenham’s torrid affair with Bibi Cavendish – his son’s fiancé.
In the end Threedle solves the case, while happiness comes to Remley and Mimosa, Algernon and Chloe, and the mysterious blonde and Braddock.
With misdirection and comedy, the play provided great entertainment to all that attended and would not have been possible without the cast and crew: Director – Dianne Twietmeyer; Stage Manager – Craig Savill; Prompter – Terry Field; Lights and Sound – Doug Waldner; Make-up – Karla Pearson; Set Construction – Paul Twietmeyer, Craig Savill, Shannon Klatt, Dianne Twietmeyer, and Jesse Twietmeyer; Set Decoration – Terri Field and Marylin Carter.
For both the seasoned veterans (cast and crew) of Cornerstone Theatre productions and those who took the stage for the first time, there is a lot of talent and ability among them which made for another successful and enjoyable show.