The Placer Performance Calendar


Great Local Shows - Theatrical Reviews

Title Bloody Murder
Organization Vista del Lago High School
Date(s) of show November 5-14, 2015
Reviewer Letha Dawson

Bloody Murder is a delightful comedic “who-is-it?” on stage in the “Black Box Theatre” at Vista del Lago High School.   You don’t have to go to San Francisco to see a funnier, cleverer production of Ed Sala’s multiple murder mystery.  There’s no blood in Bloody Murder, just inside-out plot twists which keep the actors concentrating on the plot lines along with the audience.  Bloody Murder is an interactive play in that while the theatre-goer is watching the action, the actors are trying to understand the mind of the writer responsible for putting them in the plot.  This may sound confusing, but when you’re sitting there watching this excellent cast try to figure out who’s killing off the characters one after the other, it will all come clear. 

Yes, this is set in England, and yes, there are British accents, but the cast enunciates and for the most part speaks loudly enough for the audience to understand almost every word.  Costumes are straight from Ascot and Essex, creating a roomful of stiff-Brits sipping brandy and deliberating on the predicament in which the playwright has put them.  Lady Somerset, played by Kylie Williams, is so, so British, and so, so stiff.  Her walk is stiff.  Her extended arm and floppy wrist finish her look.  She walks with a slight forward bent and embodies an aristocratic matriarch to a tee.  Her speech is pouty and pompous.  Kylie Williams is perfect for the part of Lady Somerset.  The same can be said for Major, played by Michael Calderwood; and Emma Reese, played by Claire Jacobs; and Charles Pomeroy, played by Ryan Parks-Cutigni.  The direction of the characters’ body positions is outstanding.  When two characters are engaged in conversation on one side of the stage, the other characters are always in their own characters making moves which enhance the reality of the situation.  The stage directions are thorough and precise.  Example in point:  When Emma Reese is tied up in the arm chair wriggling to free herself, she continues to struggle even when the action shifts to the far side of the stage.  This is professional acting.

The individuality of the characters is enhanced by costumes and casting.  Jane, the maid, played by Hayley Fitzpatrick, was excellent as the ill-treated servant who finally emerges as a woman with secrets.  The Major, Michael Calderwood, wakes the audience up at the very beginning of the play with his blustering entrance.  His stage presence is bold, confident, very British.  Charles Pomeroy, the foppish nephew of Lady Somerset, played by Ryan Parks-Cutigni, owned the stage as he swept across in balletic fashion from sipping brandy to kneeling at the lap of Emma Reese (Claire Jacobs).

What a lot of talent in Vista del Lago High School!  Much of the production success must be due to Christina Rae, Artistic Director, for choosing such an excellent play, and then for directing it perfectly. 

 Reviews Home    Organizations    Shows