Directors considering any play must decide what to emphasize. What are we trying to convey to the audience? If I’d been wrestling with Chapter Two, I’d want to tell a good love story, and nail as many of the jokes as possible. North Country Director Brian Ure apparently had different priorities. Damned if I know what they were.
Victoria Girmonde is radiant and daffy (in that order) as Mz. Grim…. She speaks in a weird breathy singsong that drops at the end of every phrase – it’s a parody of the sexed-up dragon lady…intoxicated with pleasure in her own attractiveness.
Maybe the acting was terrible on purpose? Maybe it was a sitcom parody of the “American Republican family?” … (Do characters keep their heads up their asses if there’s no audience to yawn? Apparently they do.)
Mysteries are tricky – like farce, the mix of ingredients and the clockwork progression must be precise. Most elements aren’t as they seem at the beginning, and the pleasure for the audience lies in solving the puzzle as things unfold. While a novel has the comparative luxury of making sure every piece is just right, a live production is complicated by technical limitations (lighting, sound and set), and especially by the actors: flubbed lines and inconsistent accents can irretrievably alter the recipe.
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