“This, guys and dolls, is the Private Eye,” says private detective Harry Monday at the end of Monday Always Leads to Murder.
Then, with a flourish, he holds up the Egyptian jewel that has been the source of two hours of murder and mayhem in Pat Cook’s comic whodunit set in New York, 1939.
The 15th Iroquois-Matilda Lions’ play, Monday Always Leads to Murder, which ran at Upper Canada Playhouse April 26-28, scored another major hit for the cast and for the Lions’ Club.
For the cast of 12, who has been in rehearsals for the production since January, the three day run was the culmination of a lot of hours of hard work and dedication.
Judging from the audience laughter and cheers at all four performances, it was definitely worth it.
The cast brought to life a collection of colourful characters, all of whom appeared to have their own reasons for landing in Harry’s seedy office on a spring day in 1939.
Pop (Bill Rumble) was definitely more than just a “know nothin’” custodian.
The enigmatic Pearl Van Beesley (Joan Mann) was clearly interested in a lot more than just a play about Harry’s life.
Miller Bannister (Brian Speer), fearful client, and Desmond Sloan (Jim Mustard), ham actor, had a lot more up their respective sleeves than undershirts. So did Veronica Reynolds (Ruth Robertson), the weepy actress, who may or may not have been as confused as she claimed.
Professor Hamadan (Donna Swank) experienced a major, very final surprize in Harry’s office.
Two comic burglars (Pat Goetz and Sam Decker, who also played Horace Barnstable) came to steal a priceless jewel but left with Harry’s wooden desk chair.
The very sultry Courtney Delecroix (Margaret Swerdfeger), was definitely after more than just Harry’s…heart.
Lt. Brogan (Glenn Swerdfeger), one of New York’s finest, couldn’t figure out which murder suspect he should nab.
Sol Johar (Barry Fawcett, using one of his very unique accents) arrived to collect a poker debt, and ended up knee deep in corpses.
And detective Harry Monday (Rick MacKenzie) had to survive bootleg hooch, gunshots through his window, burglars in his office, dead bodies on his desk, the enmity of the police and Sol Johar’s prophetic statement, “I’d like to report a murder. Somebody shot my car.”
Albert Dejong, prompting for the first time ever, did not lose his mind or his cool.
The office set for the play, designed by John Thompson, featured an impressive New York skyline. Sean Free, technical director at Upper Canada Playhouse, handled sound and lighting effects. Donnie Bowes, artistic director of UCP, and his entire staff, remained supportive and endlessly helpful throughout the run.
Club members (under Jim Locke) built and later struck the set: others handled publicity, programs and tickets, posters, photographs and video taping, as well as ushering duties.
Stage manager Diane Fawcett kept props and actors under control during the production, while some truly outstanding volunteers handled make-up and wigs and catered great food for the final reception.
Wendy Gibb directed the show.
Although the final tallies are not all in, Monday Always Leads to Murder, should net the Lions nearly $15,000.
Combined with past shows, the Iroquois-Matilda Club has raised nearly $200,000 through their theatre productions.
Funds from this show, as has always been the case in the past, will be channeled back into local Lion charities and into the Club’s many community works.