But she’s not the only body in motion. The rest of the rollicking cast is coming and going and flirting and hiding throughout this madcap whodunit that keeps you guessing right up ’til the end.
About 170 audience members giggled and guffawed during Thursday’s opening matinee (5/31/12), chatting all the way out the door about how much fun they’d had.
This merry romp is based on a 1960s British script, wisely Americanized by the Old Creamery crew. Moving it to Chicago circa 1964 means all we lose in translation are the typically hard-to-understand accents and colloquialisms. The doings and dyings are hard enough to keep straight without bogging them down in unfamiliar territory.
In essence, lowbrow high-rise cleaning lady Mrs. Piper (Senters) stumbles upon a dead body as she’s tidying up one corporate office, runs into another office to ring up the police, only to see the body there, instead. Enter Detective Superintendent Baxter (Tom Milligan), who turns out to be Mrs. Piper’s elementary classmate. She’s entranced, he’s beyond annoyed by her insistence on butting into his investigation.
Senters is at her zany best, mugging mightily through a very physical performance. Milligan keeps pace, honking his nose and blubbering right along beside her as she quizzes the suspects and drops little clues here and there, utterly confounding his interrogations.
Weaving in and out of the intrigue is a delightful cast of co-workers, from a power couple (Jackie McCall and Jeff Haffner) to a couple of secretaries (Kay Francis and Amber Snyder), a young detective (Robert Kemp) and an accountant (Eddie Skaggs). Suspicion cleverly wafts between them all, but never really lands too long on any one person.
Yet somebody had to have done it. Try as I might, I didn’t figure it out, which was half the fun. The resolution could have been a little simplistic and disappointing, if not for the strength of the actors. They made it hilarious, even as the lights went out — over and over again.
Vintage cop show theme songs keep the mood light and lively between scenes. The overall look of the show is
delightful, as well, with a chic interior design of turquoise walls, sleek black office furniture and fun and funky costumes. McCall is the epitome of style as the corporate wife with a French twist while Snyder is all mod and flighty a go-go as the hot, young secretary whose forte does not lie in taking dictation. The men are appropriately dapper, but Milligan is going to need a new hat in short order, thanks to Senters. In turn, she has lots of pockets at her disposal and lots of ingenious ways to use them. She’s always stuffing something somewhere.
Indeed, the entire show is always stuffing something somewhere, pulling out one surprise after another.
- What: “Busybody“
- When: Through July 1, 2012; 3 p.m. Wednesdays, Thursdays and Sundays, 7:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays
- Where: Old Creamery Theatre, 39 38th Ave., Amana
- Tickets: $16 to $25.50, Old Creamery Box Office, 1-(800) 352-6262 or Oldcreamery.com