Last night, the Rome Community Theater presented the comedic mystery “Whodunnit, Darling?”
Set in the 1930s, the play opens at a dude ranch in the off season. Damocles Cole, lawyer and gentleman sleuth, has arrived in response to an urgent telegram from a client — only to find his client, Horace Crenshaw, is dead. He was murdered.
The telegram was a forgery by Dam’s ex-wife Daphne, sent as ploy to draw Dam out of retirement to serve as inspiration for her next bestselling detective novel.
The ranch is host to few guests, limiting the suspects to Lomax, Crenshaw’s partner, whose voluptuous wife, Vera, was making a play for the deceased; Tex, the crusty cowboy owner of the dude ranch, heavily mortgaged to Crenshaw and Lomax; and, not least of all, Tommy Delbert, Crenshaw’s playboy nephew, who admits he harbored an intense hated of his uncle. Butting in on Dam’s investigation is the meddlesome country sheriff, Elmo “Moose” Lodge.
Opening night jitters were prevalent Thursday evening, including frequent awkward pauses and some missed cues, which slowed the pace a bit. But the story was enjoyable, and mystery itself engaging.
RCT veteran Tim Huey gave a notable performance in his portrayal as the calm and competent Damocles Cole, and Kim Darling aptly portrayed the scheming ex Daphne.
My favorite performances however were given by Ken Blumberg, who was endearing as Tex McKinney, and Josh Beckinsale as suave and nonchalant Tommy Delbert. Then again, I’m a sucker for skilled character actors.
Rounding out the cast were solid performances by Erik Kenney as the bumbling sheriff; Dave Bunker as self-important businessman Martin Lomax; and Sophia Mostafa as conniving Vera.
The set was smartly done, and the sound effects helped set the mood for a mystery.
I was unable to guess whodunnit — can you?
The show continues at the Turin Road theater tonight and Saturday at 7:30 p.m., and Sunday at 2:30 p.m. Tickets are $15, $10 for ages 18 and under.
For more information go online to www.romecommunitytheater.org.