Several centuries of dramaturgy get stirred together in Lewiston Civic Theatre’s dinner theater production of “The Game’s Afoot or Holmes for the Holidays.”The play follows real-life actor William Gillette, who performed in many Sherlock Holmes silent films in the early 1900s. In this fictional story, Gillette comes off Broadway and gets stuck in a Christmas Eve murder mystery.
“Essentially, he has got to the point where he kind of slips into the Sherlock Holmes persona,” said Gary Wilson, who plays Gillette. “He’s played the character for so long in his play … He played it for 20 years and that’s all he’s done, and that’s kind of who he thinks he is now.”
On top of acting like Sherlock, Gillette is a serious Shakespearean, too.
“One of the things that is probably the most challenging is this is a kind of a ‘Who Done It?’ type play,” Wilson said. “However, according to the play and the setting, William Gillette and his friends, his contemporaries who come to his house for the weekend, are all Shakespearean trained actors. We quote ‘Macbeth.’ ‘Henry V,’ we quote.”
So, Wilson and the other seven actors have to ensure they pronounce words correctly.
“I had to look up ‘Athenian,’ ” Wilson said of the “Midsummer Night’s Dream” line: “Stir up the Athenian youth to merriments.” “He’s quoting Shakespeare, but essentially he’s saying ‘Let’s party.’ “
So, the murder mystery isn’t all death and Elizabethan-era drama.
“There’s a lot of physical comedy,” said director Larry Goodwin. “There’s a dead body that doesn’t want to die, and they can’t get rid of it or hide it. And it shows up at inopportune times.”
And being that the production takes place in a dinner theater setting, audiences are a little less reserved, Goodwin said.
“They’re going to be eating. There’s a lot of things that could distract you if you’re not careful,” he said. “Intermission is usually dessert. There’ll be drinking, so that should add to some fun. They get into it a little bit more.”
Wilson hasn’t done dinner theater in a long time, being that he took a 30-year break from acting to work and tour overseas in the Army National Guard, but said the setting makes the production a little more intimate.
“You have certain people who are more inclined to attend that type of production,” he said of the interactive crowd.
Hosted at the Clarkston Quality Inn and Suites, the menu will include salads, Beef Wellington, smoked gouda and bacon mashed potatoes, roasted root vegetables and tiramisu. The tickets range from $50 to $60.
“It’s really, really a good play,” Wilson said. “It’s not just a murder mystery, but it’s very, very comical.”
Treffry can be contacted at (208) 883-4640 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @LindseyTreffry.
->if you go:
WHAT: “The Game’s Afoot or Holmes for the Holidays”
WHEN: 6 p.m. Dec. 27, 28, Jan. 2-4 and a special New Year’s Eve performance on Dec. 31.
WHERE: Quality Inn and Suites, 700 Port Drive, Clarkston.
TICKETS: $50 plus tax for a standard dinner performance. $60 plus tax for the special New Year’s Eve performance. Tables sit six people. Tickets can be purchased online at lctheatre.org or by calling the LCT box office at (208) 746-3401 noon-6 p.m. Tuesday through Friday. Box office hours are extended during shows.