Sunday, December 8, 2019

The Christmas Case—Battleground Productions—SE Portland

    This original, Christie-est script is written and directed by the author, John Longenbaugh.  It is playing at the Chapel Theatre, 4107 SE Harrison St., in Milwaukee, through December 21st.  For more information, go to their site at

    This follows very much in the Agatha Christie vein of British mysteries…the snow-bound suspects, a theft of an expensive item, the long, complex reveal at the end of the crime and a visit by a mysterious stranger.  It’s a classic setting and the author is obviously a fan of this genre (as am I).

    The Brits and the BBC are probably the crown jewels in this genre, in my opinion.  Both Doyle (with his Holmes & Watson) and Christie (with her Poirot and Marple), all try to manipulate a tale in such a manner that the reader/viewer will be unable to discover the culprit(s) by the end.  But “in the meantime…in between times…ain’t we got fun.”  And that is just the ticket for a cozy ride on a crisp winter’s night, as it is here!

    It seems that the upper crust of the Ashford family is sorely lacking in bread and are in need of some fresh blood to revitalize the family’s coffers.  Lady Constance (Rebecca Morse), at her wits ends, is down on her luck, so it might be up to her daughter, the wiley, Cynthia (Caralynn Shields), to come to the rescue by marrying the aristocratic, Wayne Coverley (Riley Parham), who is coming to visit with his well-to-do but not-too-bright classmate, Percy Wentworth (Hunter O’Harrow).

    Also visiting, on this snowy winter’s eve, is the other side of the family, Lady Madelyn Brass (Allison Anderson), her clever sister, and her daughter, the astute, Gwendolyn (Katherine Grant-Suttie).  Only problem being is that they are both in disguise as Germans, as they had been presumed dead from a bombing incident and are afraid they are being stalked by spies out to finish the job.

    And, added to this motley crew, are the ever-faithful butler, Tomkins (Rick Warren)—there always seems to be a butler in these cases.  And the mysterious stranger, the understanding, Father Christmas (Andy Mangels), who may have other conjuring tricks up his sleeve.  And the crime—the theft of a jewel!  And who is the perpetrator, “ah, there’s the rub.”  See if you can discover the secrets, which are held by all, before the last reveal is discovered…!

    This is a delightful romp on a winter’s eve and it’s clear the cast is having a jolly good time of taxing one’s “little gray cells” into action.  The cast is quite a treat, with Anderson and Grant-Suttie as the Poirot/Holmes team of investigators, quite inspiring in their multi-faceted roles of aristocratic Brit family, beleaguered “Germans” and detectives.  The college buds, Parham and O’Harrow, are charming as inept, pseudo-suiters—I especially liked O’Harrow’s quirky movements, awkward pauses and totally, mindless remarks—bravo. 

    Morse and Shields, as the more conniving side of the failing family fortunes, were fun to observe.  Warren as the trusted servant, who has more on his mind than servitude, is good.  And Mangels is very well-suited to his role as a man who may hold the biggest secret of all.  All actors are very well cast in their roles.  And the set (Tyler Buswell—a very well-respected designer for his work, also, with Bag & Baggage Productions) and costumes (Christine Richardson), are a real asset to the authenticity of the production.

    It is obvious that Longenbaugh is familiar with the Brit mystery genre, as all the typical elements are here.  But with complicated plots, such as this, it is important to keep a clear through-line in the story, that all the scenes are relevant in some way to the overall concept.  The scene with Father Christmas and Lady Madelyn is fascinating and well-acted as written, and may be a good subject for a play in itself, but the dialogue has almot nothing to do with the basic plot.  Outside of that, this is a pleasant evening’s diversion and is certainly worth one’s time to see a wonderful, fun homage to a very popular style of literature.

    I recommend this play.  If you do choose to see it, please tell them Dennis sent you.


  1. I never thought i would be HIV negative again after been
    diagnosed in 2015, i ave tried everything possible in life from
    one doctor to another, one hospital to another, series of tests,
    different kinds of medication, i had already lost hope until i
    meet Great Dr okadibo online testimonies, a specialist in
    herbal medication from Africa, i contacted him ( ) and he
    prepared HIV herbal medication for me which i took for 7days
    and now i am completely cured. i want to use this medium to
    express my gratitude to him for saving my life and curing me
    from HIV, for taking away all my pains and sorrows, I''m
    indeed grateful and i am so happy I''m now HIV negative. i will
    continue to tell the good news of your great works to
    everyone, if you have HIV or other disease contact him, Email:
    his email: ( ) or whatsApp him via +2349032824947 thank you my great Dr okadibo
    for curing me keep up your great work

  2. Doctor Razor God will continue to bless you more abundantly, for the good works you are doing in peoples life, I will keep on testifying about your good work, I was healed from HERPES VIRUS through the help of Doctor Razor. I saw a blog on how Doctor Razor cured people with his herbal treatment, i did not believe but i just decided to give him a try, I contacted him and he prepare the herbs for me which i took for only 18 days, after taking it, he told me to go for check up, could you believe that i was confirmed herpes negative after the test, and i went to a different hospital and it was also negative, i am so happy. If you have any problem or you are also infected with any disease, kindly contact him now with his Email: or whatsapp/call him via +2349065420442

  3. Hello! I’m very excited to inform everyone that I’m completely cured from my HSV 1&2 recently. I have used Oregano oil, Coconut oil, Acyclovir, Valacyclovir, Famciclovir, and some other products and it’s really help during my outbreaks but I totally got cured! from my HSV with a strong and active herbal medicine ordered from a powerful herbalist and it completely fought the virus from my nervous system and I was tested negative after 12 days of using the herbal medicine. I’m here to let you all know that herpes virus has a complete cure, I got rid of mine with the help of Dr KOFI and his herbal exploit. Contact him via email: Call WhatSApp him for a solution in any kind of disease infection in your body (+2349039139161)...

  4. Doctor razor has given me reasons to be happy by curing my HERPES with HERBAL MEDICINE. i was HERPES type 2 positive for over 2 years and all the means i tried for treatment was not helpful to me, but when i came on the Internet i saw great testimony about Doctor Razor on how he was able to cure someone from HERPES 2 this person said great things about this man, and advice we contact him for any Disease problem that Doctor razor can be of help, well i decided to give him a try, he requested for my information which i sent to him, and he told me he was going to prepare for me the HERBAL MEDICINE, which he wanted me to take for Two weeks, and after which i should go back to the hospital for check up, well after taking all the treatment sent to me by Doctor razor, i went back to the Hospital for check up, and now i have been confirmed HERPES type 2 Negative, I waited for three months and then went back to my greatest surprised it was still negative. Up still now I still can't believe that am HERPES  negative. You that is out there looking for help or cure , Reach him On email : Believe beloved, you will testify after 18 days Whatsapp him on +2349065420442

  5. Greatest thanks to Dr Oyagu for his herbal drugs that he prepared for me and when i start using it in just 2weeks i was completely cured and that ended my HERPES SIMPLEX 1&2 DISEASE i am so happy and grateful to Dr Oyagu . after reading about him on a testimony of Jason Cash on a blogger. i knew suddenly Dr Oyagu was the right Doctor to cure my HERPES SIMPLEX 1&2 DISEASE. i discuss with Dr Oyagu and he prepared a herbal medicine for me and when it got sent to me in south korean . i used the herbal medicine and 2weeks and i went to check up again. after 15years of suffering from HERPES SIMPLEX 1&2 at last i am smiling once again. Dr Oyagu also has remedy to others disease like COLD SORES,HIV/AIDS,DIABETES.CANCER,HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE AND MANY MORE. I oblige everyone to contact this powerful herbalist Dr Oyagu and be free from your suffering. contact his WhatsApp line: +2348101755322 or his

  6. Do you need Finance? Are you looking for Finance? Are you looking for finance to enlarge your business? We help individuals and companies to obtain finance for business expanding and to setup a new business ranging any amount. Get finance at affordable interest rate of 3%, Do you need this finance for business and to clear your bills? Then send us an email now for more information contact us now via whats-App +918929509036 Dr James Eric Finance Pvt Ltd Thank

  7. Am Laura Mildred by name, i was diagnosed with Herpes 4 years ago i lived in pain with the knowledge that i wasn't going to ever be well again i contacted so many herbal doctors on this issue and wasted a large sum of money but my condition never got better i was determined to get my life back so one day i saw Mr. Morrison Hansen post on how Dr. Emu saved him from Herpes with herbal medicine i contacted Dr. Emu on his Email: we spoke on the issue i told him all that i went through and he told me not to worry that everything will be fine again so he prepared the medicine and send it to me and told me how to use it, after 14 days of usage I went to see the doctor for test,then the result was negative, am the happiest woman on earth now thanks to Dr. Emu God bless you. Email him at: Call or Whats-app him: +2347012841542 


  8. i already gave up on ever getting cured of HSV2 because i have try many treatment none of them work out for me i have go to different hospital they always tell me same thing there is no cure for herpes when i came across a post about Dr oyagu, in the net from a lady called Rebecca i contacted him and he reassured me with him herbal medicine which i took according to the way he instructed, that how i was cured. I doubted at first because i have been to a whole lot of reputable doctors, tried a lot of medicines but none was able to cure me. so i decided to listen to him and he commenced treatment, and under two weeks i was totally free from Herpes. i want to say a very big thank you to DR oyagu for what he has done in my life. feel free to leave him a message on email and also WhatsApp him +2348101755322..
    He can still be able to help you with this herbs medicine:


  9. DR OYAGU herbal medicine is a good remedy for herpes simplex virus cure. My name is MIGNON WRIGHT , am from USA,I am here to give my testimony about DR OYAGU who helped me in my life, i want to inform the public how i was cured from (HERPES SIMPLEX VIRUS) by DR OYAGU, i visited different hospital but they gave me list of drugs like Familiar, Zovirax, and Valtrex which is very expensive to treat the symptoms and never cured me. I was browsing through the Internet searching for remedy on HERPES and i saw comment of people talking about how DR OYAGU cured them, when i contacted him he gave me hope and send a Herbal medicine to me that i took and it seriously worked for me, am a free person now without any problem, my HERPES result came out negative, I pray to God to never let me and my family forget you in our life, am now cured permanently, you can also get your self cured my friends if you really need this doctor help, you can reach him on his website ; Email: or via whatsapp +2348101755322

  10. Natural herbs have cured so many illness that drugs and injection cant cure. I've seen the great importance of natural herbs and the wonderful work they have done in people's lives. I read people's testimonies online on how they were cured of herpes, HIV, diabetics etc by Dr Kibaki herbal medicine, so i decided to contact the doctor because i know nature has the power to heal anything. I was diagnosed with HIV for the past 7 years but Dr Kibaki cured me with his herbs and i referred my aunt and her husband to him immediately because they were both suffering from herpes and they were cured too. I know is hard to believe but am a living testimony. There is no harm trying herbs. He is also a spell caster, he cast spells to restore broken marriages and a good luck spells to prosper and excel in life. You can also reach Dr. Kibaki on his email: or call : +1 860 397-2711