Friday, September 9, 2022

The One-Act Play That Goes Wrong—Triangle Productions—NE Portland


“The Play’s the Thing…”

    This Live comedy is written by Henry Lewis, Jonathan Sayer & Henry Shields, directed by Angela McKennie and produced by Donald Horn.  It is playing at their space at 1785 NE Sandy Blvd. (free parking lot next to the building) through September 24th.  Be advised that full Covid protocols are in place…vaccine cards, masks, etc.  For more information, go to their site at or call 503-239-5919.

    According to the quote above from Hamlet, the story is the crux of the play, which will reveal all.  But it can also be taken in another sense, using “play” the way a child might interpret it, as fun and games, where anything can happen…and that is exactly what occurs here, as an inept, community theatre group attempts to put on a murder mystery.

    This type of plot has been done before, as in Tom Stoppard’s, The Real Inspector Hound (which I have directed); or the movie and play from the board game, Clue (which Bag & Baggage is doing in the Spring).  Or the excellent Christopher Guest film, Waiting For Guffman.  But this is, by far, the most madcap, merry, mix-up of mayhem I’ve ever seen.!  And it’s presented by an array of many former actors from Triangle’s past shows, to celebrate its 33rd Season (yay)!

    The plot (such as it is) revolves around the discovery of a corpse of the Patriarch of Haversham Manor, Charles (Joe Healy), on the eve of his wedding to a socialite, Florence (Lisamarie Harrison), a bit of a ditz.  Among the suspects are Thomas (Dave Cole), his mysterious brother; Cecil (Alex Fox), a questionable associate; Perkins (Gary Wayne Cash), an annoying butler; and a fiercely, dedicated stagehand, Annie (Melissa Whitney).  Into this fray appears Inspector Carter (James Sharinghousen)--not the sharpest knife in the drawer--prepared to solve this infamous crime…but not before another murder victim is discovered, an affair is unveiled, and folks are discovered not to be whom they seem (“curiouser and curiouser”).

    If this all sounds confusing, it is, but the meat of this play is not the plot of the murders, but the inept way the actors go about presenting the show.  And I can tell you, having been involved in over 200 plays myself, these are no exaggerations:  Props that are not there; set pieces that fall apart; actors that write their lines on their costumes or arms; weapons that don’t work; actors that don’t show up on cue; lines that get forgotten or that are repeated; et al.  They are all here in this show and all true, folks.

    The cast is dynamite and it is truly a genius ensemble of some of the best comic talent in the area!  McKennie is a master of creating visual and verbal comedy and is truly a laugh-out-loud presentation (which is sorely needed in these chaotic and morose times in our history).  Thank you, dear cast and director, for giving us this reprieve from our troubled world…it is truly needed.  And thank you, Donald Horn, for choosing this vehicle to celebrate 32 seasons of inspiring theatre…may you have many more to come!

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