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‘Something’s Afoot’ first play in renovated theater

The cast of
The cast of "Something's Afoot" at the Lake City Playhouse pose for a picture. From left areTom Nash, Garrett McDonald, Shayla Keating, Aimee Hanan, Bruce Martinek, Jessie Bradford and Steve Hammond. Not pictured are Vince Aurora, Julie Nash and Todd Jasmin. (Jesse Tinsley/The Spokesman-Revi / The Spokesman-Review)
Dave Buford Correspondent

An upcoming murder mystery may be a telltale sign of new life at the Lake City Playhouse in Coeur d’Alene.

“Something’s Afoot” is a cookie-cutter caper with comedy in between. The story is set in the 1930s and is a musical spoof of the Agatha Christie novel “Ten Little Indians.”

All the guests get invited by the owner of a secluded estate, clueless that others were invited. Murders ensue, one by one, and an amateur sleuth steps in to solve the whodunit.

Aimee Hanan, plays the amateur sleuth, Ms. Tweed, and is a newcomer to the playhouse this year. She’s been acting for eight years, but this is her first musical since high school.

“It’s a lot of work, it takes up a lot of time, but it’s a big payoff in the end,” she said.

She said Ms. Tweed is a little over the top in her tastes, but the eccentric older woman is key in the play. Whether her deductions are correct or not, Ms. Tweed is ready to give her two cents – maybe more.

Hanan said the play has a little something for everybody, and the whodunit will keep the audience guessing at every vexed visitor.

Todd Jasmin, technical director, helped with set construction and holds a small part in the play.

He’s the first to get knocked off.

“I thought that might be kind of fun,” he said. “I do my little part and go out and direct the rest of the show.”

Jasmin said the group started rehearsing in early December, and the play is coming along despite the distractions of a busy holiday season.

The greatest difficulty was working around the set for “A Christmas Carol,” and getting the score straight because the music wasn’t available.

“We really had to use or imagination until we could get our set and do all our murderous hijinks,” Jasmin said.

In addition, the playhouse is being renovated to include new paint and new seating. The 170 seats will be fewer than before, but more comfortable for the audience, Jasmin said. Volunteers began installing the new seats in late December.

The new seats were part of a new look, attitude and overall feel at the playhouse after new management took over last summer. In August, the playhouse brought in three new directors, including Jasmin, Tracey Benson, artistic director, and Noel Barbuto, managing director.

Tom Nash and his wife, Julie, both hold parts in the play. Tom has been in community theater since 1969 and has seen the playhouse go through several cycles of management and directors over the years.

“Just in the past year, my wife and I both have just really enjoyed what they’re doing with the playhouse,” he said. “They’re bringing it back to life.”

Nash plays Colonel Dillweather, a lovably pompous British military vet who is quick to say “jolly good” and stir the scenes with his rumbling “Raj” accent.

“If we’re not absolutely accurate with our accents, at least we’re consistent,” Nash said.

He shares the stage with other characters, much like the characters in the board game Clue, including the sweet young lady, the saucy maid and the suspicious butler.

The troupe is fine-tuning its work to get a few extra laughs out of the crowd at show time.

Jasmin said the show promises to be two hours of suspenseful fun. Nash agrees.

Nash, a longtime fan of English comedies, said the stock characters and story lines should hit a chord with the audience. But if nothing else, it’s funny, he said.

“The actors have fun doing it, and we hope the audience will have fun watching it,” Nash said.

“Something’s Afoot” is the fifth show of the season and the first show to benefit from renovations at the playhouse.

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