Audience set up to win at Foothill Theatre’s ‘Corpse!’
Deceit, hatred, impersonation, sexual innuendo, mystery. And that’s only the first act. What follows in the second act of Foothill Theatre’s “Corpse!” is high-camp murder, double-dealing, envy, revenge and a hidden liquor cabinet. And with a good dose of comedy added to the entire mix, you’ve got a delightful thriller about the “perfect plan.” Of course, with Gary Wright playing one of the twin brothers who intends to carry out the “perfect plan,” you know that you’re in for a roller coaster treat.
One twin (Evelyn) hates and resents the other (Rupert) and solicits someone to murder Rupert so that he can assume Rupert’s persona and take all of his wealth and stature. Or so Evelyn says. But things are not necessarily what they seem, as is always true in a good mystery. Gary actually plays both twin brothers, switching seamlessly and often hysterically between the persona of the swishy, conniving Evelyn and his uptight twin, Rupert, even to sashaying out one door dressed in a white dinner jacket to entering stiffly, moments later, through another door wearing a long black coat and hat. The scene in which Rupert (or is it Evelyn?) is shot and falls to the floor behind the bed, with the other twin appearing a minute later at the top of the stairs, is in the best tradition of farce. And for lovers of slapstick, when Gary’s theatrically bloodied body is flung back and forth across and off the bed, one wonders how many bruises he has acquired during this particular run.
The entire four-member cast is excellent. I particularly liked Mary Baird as Mrs. McGee, the over-the-top landlady who so badly wants Evelyn to seduce her. And Rick Kleber hits the right notes as Major Powell, a has-been man and soldier who wonders why Evelyn has solicited him to kill Rupert. Greg Alexander’s direction of the play keeps the audience wondering and the play moving, as any good mystery should.
Although there are four human cast members, the inanimate star of the show is the set, designed by Les Solomon. When the set cleverly folded around itself, completely shifting the locale and furnishings, the audience actually broke into applause. It was the set design that allowed the entire play to work so effectively. This well-done play, with its excellent set, continues its run at the Nevada Theater through Aug. 5.
Hindi Greenberg is not usually a mystery fan, but this play was such fun, with so much wit, savoir faire and good acting, that she highly recommends you see it.
Editor’s note: “Corpse!” just received the highest five-star rating from Sacramento News & Review.
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