Monday, February 17, 2014


At the heart of the quaint town of Thomaston, Connecticut is its famed Opera House, built in 1884 and voted to the National Register of Historic Places in 1972.  Inside the Opera House is the home of the Landmark Community Theatre and productions that start with a welcoming organ concert.  Stroll back in time in Victorian splendor, with romantic wall sconces and walls of stenciled mint with cranberry accents in evidence.

To become acquainted with this charming setting, plan to attend Landmark Community Theatre’s current offering, Ken Ludwig’s “The Game’s Afoot” until Sunday, February 23.  It’s part mystery, part melodrama, part comedy and part farce and you’ll need a scorecard to discover who is dead, could be dead or someone wants dead. Is it Miss Plum in the dressing room with a knife?  Maybe!

The action is set in the castle home of famed actor William Gillette, who made his name in the 1930’s with a play he penned about Sherlock Holmes, the astute and clever detective created by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.  Gillette not only wrote the popular play, he starred in it as Holmes for twenty years.
Now the tables are turned and Gillette has been shot, but happily not mortally, while on stage at New York’s Palace Theatre.  Recovering, he has invited all the “suspects,” his fellow actors, to his incredible new home on the Connecticut River in East Haddam, to discover the culprit.  Now he is playing Sherlock Holmes for real.

Arriving for Christmas weekend are his cast members Felix (Frank Beaudry) and his wife Madge (Shannon Sniffin) and Simon (Morgan Morse) and his new wife Aggie (Meghan Rickard).  Gillette’s mother Martha (Jane Coughlin) is already there to help play hostess for her son, while the caustic theater critic Daria Chase (Nicole Thomas) soon inserts herself, uninvited, into the dramatic mix.
Spouting Shakespeare to each other as actors as wont to do, the guests are soon shouting accusations at each other:  of blackmail, jealousy, adultery, and, especially, of murder.  Luckily, an unusual and sightly daffy, slightly savvy policewoman Inspector Goring (Janice Connor) arrives in the snow storm to make sense of the pandemonium.  Eric Wilczak directs the comic chaos with murderers and victims hiding behind every velvet curtain and secret sliding wall panel.

For tickets ($23.50, students and seniors $19.50), call Landmark Community Theatre, 158 Main Street, Thomaston at 860-283-6250 or online at  Performances are Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m., February 21-23.

Mark your calendars for a festive Mardi Gras celebration, Saturday, March 1 from 8-11 p.m., with live music by Vinyl Vortex, costume prizes, raffles, catered snacks from local restaurants and a cash bar.  Come in mask and costume for this unique fundraiser. Tickets are $25.

Grab on to Sherlock’s houndstooth cloak for a funny and bumpy ride on the Murder and Mystery Express.

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