By Colleen McNaught
While quilts are made of fabric, Pat Cook’s play, The Crazy Quilt Club is a non-stop fabrication: a handful of Springdale Players (some of whom might have easily been misconstrued for a gaggle of gossiping geese in Liberty Hall recently), morphed themselves into the murderers and murderees of a madcap mix-up, all quick-stitched together with rapid-fire, thigh-slappin’ one-liners.
Anyone in the audience brave enough to try deciphering what was – and what was not – going on, also had to contend with the hilarious interruption of Lydia Thornedyke’s (Carol Kreutz) eyeballs perpetually popping up and down like a pair of bingo-balls, every time she’d awaken from one of her self-proclaimed “last moments”. Or not.
You see the quilters had met to (ahem) devise some strategies to thwart the possible demise of – what else, but – a nearby cave. In fact, a cave with cattails. Or not.
Enter the incessant jabber box, the appropriately-monikered Veronica Blather (aka Dianne Carr). Her occupational hazard: writing murder-mystery novels. Which no doubt accounted for her ease at, and obsession with, being definitely deft at scribbling notes and spewing out a never-ending dissertation, all the while proving herself to be a tiddly-tad daft in solving this perfidious case of treachery emerging before her. Or not.
Then came the first death. Indeed, the quilters were stricken, mortified. Or not.
Ah-ha! Lt. McCoy (alias Grant Harris) was summoned to solve the who-dun-it. But alas…before the officer was able to deduce anything, a nasty thunderstorm and the ensuing power outages shrouded the evidence as much or more than did the surviving club-members. And, eee-yikes! Blather’s new housemates began dropping like the proverbial flies. Or not.
So, who created that first drink of death that befell Clara Quinten (Kathy Maconochie)? Was it the whistling-nosed Viola Underwood (Fran Osokin)? Nope: she sneezed herself into oblivion. But why was she [[geszunteiting]] in such a deadly fashion?
Who had motive to cause any of the murders? Not Myrtle Ipswitch (Elaine Hawkins), because she met her Waterloo during one of the power blackouts, and Serafina Litton (Dariel Sroka) vanished somehow, too.
Even Matilda Thibedeaux (Sheryl Boyes), who resorted to wielding a claw hammer to protect herself, was mugged and dragged off-stage. But Veronica Blather and Lydia Thornedyke were so busy with their gabfest that they didn’t notice that anyone had suddenly disappeared.
Who of the survivors was responsible for these murders? Could Dr. Joyce Lydecker (Liz Lay), the straight-faced, straight-laced niece of Ms. Blather be the one? Or was it the author herself? She might be allowing first-hand experience to compose her next novel. Or not.
How could the ever spasmodic, seemingly comatose, Lydia plan such a successful smoke-‘em-out spree? Maybe the final departure was actually a suicide? The number of choices was shrinking fast.
More complications: who’d have figured that the story-line of Cook’s play was based on misinterpreted suppositions, with Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs spelling out so many answers?
It was amazing how the entire cast could appear so stony-faced throughout – even when they had to make those frequent pauses in line-delivery because the pulse of audience laughter nearly muffled the on-stage confabulation. Although some of the characters carried real – not rubber – hammers, knives, and axes, all of the actors were most certainly wearing their very bestest rubber faces throughout the entire production.
The established popularity of these annual productions accounts for the Hall’s parking lot being jam-packed in shivering, sub-sub-zero temperatures when tickets for the eight-night stand went on sale last month. Shows are usually sold out in less than a half-hour.
Residents of the area, and their ultimate ‘give’ to their community, deserve a standing ovation for this, their 15th year of dinner theatre at Liberty Hall. There were no sacrifices anywhere: an evening filled with down-home digestibles (actually served on real glass dinnerware!), plus the honest-to-goodness belly-laughs that surely raised the outdoor thermometer readings, and the indoor moods in general, upward by many degrees of warmth.
This writer offers her condolences to anyone who missed this year’s production, and suggests that – next year – you don’t wait for balmy weather before purchasing your tickets. Yes, they sell out faster than most any of those up-town events, but – if you ask nicely, organizers are generous enough to add your name to the waiting list.