I hated watching Murder, She Wrote, but always loved the fact that it was around. The problem was all those implausible solutions Jessica Fletcher kept coming up with without there ever being so much as a reasonable clue. In fact, the plots were always full of red herrings. But it was great to know Angela Lansbury was around all that while: this nice little old lady invading the sleuthing grounds of two fisted, gun-toting private eyes. Implausible though the shows were, they were works of genius compared to the bounce-and-jiggle inanity of Charlie’s Angels. It was refreshing to have a show premised on an old gal using her thinking cap as her best weapon.
If you can relate at all, you’ll join me in welcoming Theatre in the Round’s season finale A Murder is Announced, an Agatha Christie whodunit featuring her famous creation, the one and only Miss Marple. It’s one of Christie’s most popular tales, was a hit on the PBS Mystery series and, in the consistently capable hands of arguably the Twin Cities’ best community theater company—well, it’s just too bad you’re not allowed to bring popcorn and soda to your seat.
A Murder is Announced, a play adapted for the stage by Leslie Darbon and directed by John Gaspard, presented from July 11-August 10 at Theatre in the Round, 245 Cedar Ave., Minneapolis. For tickets ($20) and information, see theatreintheround.org.
In the tiny English village Chipping Cleghorn, a classified ad in the local newspaper gives the exact date, time, and place that a homicide will take place. Unable to resist the mysterious invitation, a crowd begins to gather at Little Paddocks. And, sure enough, right on schedule at the announced time, the deed is done. Without warning, the lights go out, a man bursts into the room, fires three shots, and we are off to the races with plenty of interesting suspects—some of whom are not quite who they claim to be—and no shortage of motives. Miss Marple, who happens to be visiting an old friend in the village, can no more resist the temptation to stick her nose than a moth can resist a flame. We can, however, count on the resourceful super snoop to fare much better than the moth.
Dwight Hobbes is a writer based in the Twin Cities. He contributes regularly to the TC Daily Planet.