Flin Flon’s most active drama troupe is preparing for their first show of 2022 - a romp based on British detective novels and tropes.
Ham Sandwich will return for two nights next month to debut their production of “The Butler Did It”, a full-length comedy play by American writer Tim Kelly. The play is a send-up of traditional Agatha Christie-like British detective fiction and murder mysteries, aimed both toward making the audience laugh and rack their own brains to discover the true killer.
“It's a murder mystery comedy, I guess would be a good way to describe it,” said Alain Lachapelle, a long-time Ham Sandwich player who is stepping into the director’s seat for this show.
“There's a lot of characters that some people may recognize from some of those old British murder mysteries - like one of the characters is Miss Maple, a play on Miss Marple. There's a few other ones.”
The show itself is set at Ravenswood Manor on Turkey Island, with a motley crew of characters each at an old mansion when someone turns up dead. Naturally, the rest of the cast spend the remaining time seeking justice for the murder.
The cast, a small one made only of adults, is made entirely of Ham Sandwich veterans this time, with a concerted decision to stay with familiar faces for the show.
“It is kind of mean, but we figured that this way was easier. It’s all people who already know what they’re doing, in case we have to condense it and we only have a couple weeks to rehearse,” said Lachapelle.
The aforementioned Miss Maple is played by Susan Gunn Saray, with Anna Harrison as Miss Haversham, Beth Heine as Rita Eyelesbarrow, Mark Wendlandt as Father White and Raphael Saray as Chandler Marlowe. Other actors include Jordana Oulette, Mark MacDonald, Lana Leclerc, Tristan Barteski and Cheryl Feszczyn.
For Ham Sandwich, the show was originally pitched by Leslie Fernandes, who had a copy of the script at home and gave it to Lachapelle, who loved it. Lachapelle was supposed to originally direct a production of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory in fall 2020, but that show was cancelled amid COVID-19 concerns.
When asked what audiences can expect, Lachapelle said the group was going for both laughs and immersion.
“I would tell them to get ready to be immersed in Ravenswood Manor, because the set the lights and the sound are going to be very immersive for the show,” he said.
“Get ready to laugh. This is a show about having a good time. It’s a comedy. The jokes are there. Prepare to come and have a good time and don’t worry about laughing. That’s what we’re doing here, to make people happy, to make people laugh - that’s the goal of this play.”
“The Butler Did It” will be performed at the R.H. Channing Auditorium March 11-12. Tickets are available both at the Uptown Emporium on Main Street or at flinflonartscouncil.ca.