The Ladysmith Little Theatre’s latest production is a real killer.
The weapon of choice is comedy, and it all begins May 10 when Let’s Murder Marsha hits the stage.
“It’s I Love Lucy meets Murder She Wrote,” says director Mort Paul. “It’s just mad-cap hilarity and silly, silly stuff; people overhearing things and misunderstanding.”
Let’s Murder Marsha is written by Monk Ferris and takes place in New York in the home of Tobias and Marsha Gilmore, a posh Park Avenue apartment.
Tobias is a stockbroker who has recently made it big, and the two are enjoying a wealthy lifestyle. Marsha, a housewife, has a secret addiction to reading murder mystery novels, despite Tobias’ disapproval.
“She’s such a different sort; she lives in her own little world, and she’s created this big game and she’s living the life of a murder mystery,” says Megan Fleming, who plays the role of Marsha.
The plot is set when Marsha sneaks off to the library to return an overdue book, The Creeping Slasher; however, she still hasn’t finished the book, and she continues to engross herself in the pages along the way.
On her way, she overhears her husband speaking with their beautiful young interior decorator about Marsha’s upcoming surprise birthday party but somehow mistakes it for an elaborate plot to kill her so the two can run off together.
Enlisting the help of her neighbour and maid, Marsha sets out to turn the tables. Adding to the complication is Marsha’s mother-in-law, who shows up for the party a day early, and the maid’s boyfriend, a police officer Marsha suspects knows what she’s up to.
And when Marsha’s intended victims discover what she has planned, they decide to teach her a lesson by actually pretending to be murderers.
“The audience knows exactly what’s happening very early on; it makes for a lot of fun because you see everybody making mistakes all the way through,” Paul said.
He said the mad-cap fast pace of the comedy provides a great challenge for the seven-member cast.
“Everybody’s got to know everybody’s lines in some scenes because they’re coming so fast.”
“We’re still discovering so much stuff. Every time we rehearse, a light bulb goes on and I discover something else about her,” she said. “There really isn’t a dull moment.”
A former film and television actor, Fleming said she didn’t start performing live theatre until her daughter’s involvement prompted her back into it seven years ago.
“She’s a singer and performer and I did backstage stuff. Eventually they got me on stage,” she said.
Let’s Murder Marsha will be Fleming’s first appearance on the Ladysmith stage in a few years, though she has been in a number of other local productions more recently, such as 1949, and It Had to Be You by the Yellow Point Drama Group.
She says she is fascinated by the process between the beginning of a production and the finished product and admits that playing such a large role is a bit nerve-wracking.
“Your adrenaline goes like crazy and you think ‘why am I doing this’, and then at the end when everyone’s applauding, you feel really good and you go ‘oh yeah, that’s why,’” she said. “It’s amazing the camaraderie and the friendships you make along the way.”
Let’s Murder Marsha runs May 10-27, and tickets are $20. For more information or to reserve your ticket, call the box office at 250-924-0658 or click here.