Oct 02 2008
I haven’t had much of an online life lately – the offline world has been preoccupying my time. One of my favourite real world activities is going to the theatre and on Tuesday night, the Bruiser Theatre Company staged a production of The Case of the Frightened Lady in Greystones Theatre.
They describe it as a classic ‘who-dunnit’ for all ages, but it is so much more than that.
It is not a straight ‘who-dunnit’. In 1932 the acclaimed thriller writer, Edgar Wallace, receives a call from his publisher demanding the finished draft of his newest novel. The problem: he hasn’t written it yet. Throughout the night, he, his wife, his secretary and staff brainstorm and act out his entire new book devising plot, character and climax on the fly. Playing out each character to perfection were a cast of five – who each pretended to be a number of characters in the novel. As the evening progressed so too did the novel’s plot, but also the subplot of the tensions between Wallace, his wife and his secretary.
This play was hilarious, from start to finish. It didn’t miss a beat, probably because it was choreographed to perfection. Indeed the choreography was the most important part of the play. Each scene change, each gesture, each brief interaction was timed to the second. The mania and hysterics of the play didn’t let up right to the end and the audience truly felt as though it had been taken on a journey throughout.
Ultimately, the pay off – the reveal of who actually dunnit – is a little flat and there is no true drama building up to it. The subplot of the love triangle isn’t fleshed out to a finish either, which does disappoint. So, as a dramatic piece, the play does fall short, but as an out and out comedy it is wonderful. I laughed constantly and the comedy techniques employed were brilliant. Everything from the subtle glances, to the farcical prat falls, from the witty lines to the low brow ‘knob’ jokes, The Case of the Frightened Lady delivered beautifully.
Well done to the cast and all who were involved in putting this play on stage. I’ll will keep an eye out for future Bruiser Theatre productions.