The Game’s Afoot By SADOS
South Holland Centre, Spalding
Thursday, November 24
Spalding Amateur Dramatic and Operatic Society’s (SADOS) performance of Ken Ludwig’s award-winning comic farce The Game’s Afoot was an absolute triumph.
The stage at Spalding’s South Holland Centre was transformed into the Connecticut home of world-renowned actor William Gillette as he prepares for the festivities with family and friends on Christmas Eve 1936.
However, Gillette, best known for playing Sherlock Holmes on Broadway, has his own mystery to solve after an attempt is made on his life, a doorman is murdered at his theatre and a film critic stabbed to death in his home.
Played out almost like a game of Cluedo, this show was a joy to watch and there were some stand-out performances.
First-time director Zack Colam said all the characters took aspects of their appearance from the board game – and some of the murder weapons pop up too.
Jodie’s interpretation of the oddball sleuth was fantastic and the audience enjoyed her performance as much as she seemed to be enjoying herself.
Jonathan Tibbs captured perfectly the bluster and larger than life personality of the show’s main character Gillette.
His interactions with the other characters were hilarious and memorable, especially those with his mother Martha (played by Mandie Collier), Inspector Goring (Jodie Schweikhardt) and house guest Simon Bright (Charlie Russell).
Out of the gamut of lines he had to deliver he only stumbled twice and even then recovered quickly, and his American accent was superb throughout.
Jodie was hilarious as the eccentric Inspector and totally owned the stage at times. Her interpretation of the oddball sleuth was fantastic and the audience enjoyed her performance as much as she seemed to be enjoying herself.
Making his SADOS debut, Charlie also excelled as loveable lothario Simon Bright.
Colette Buchanan-Gray was amazing as the hard-nosed, sex-craved journalist Daria Chase and even managed to keep the laughs coming when she was dying and, indeed, dead. No mean feat that.
Mandie also won her share of laughes with her portrayal of doting mum and critic killer Martha Gillette.
Sexy gold digger Aggie Wheeler was portrayed by Holly Whittaker, and it was hard to believe this was her first play.
She kept up the ‘butter wouldn’t melt but there’s something not quite right’ character of the young widow superbly and the will-they? won’t they? attempted murder scenes with Charlie were farce at its best.
I must also make special mention of Andrew Rudd and Laura Scott as Felix and Madge Geisel, a couple obsessed with acting and quoting famous lines at any given opportunity.
Most of us know a dysfunctional couple just like these two and the way they captured the fuzzy chemistry was just perfect.
I’ve seen Laura before and she’s always spot on but this was 42-year-old Andrew’s first time on a stage and he was superb, even reprising Basil Fawlty at his manic best at one point. And I loved the scenes when Felix and Gillette were tring to hide Daria’s body.
Lauren Earth played a small but crucial part too, once as a would-be assassin and once as a corpse!
So, a first-time director, an actor making his SADOS debut, an actress in her first play and someone treading the boards for the first time. Sounds like a risk, ends up as a triumph.