Audiences can test their crime-solving skills against those of master detective Hercule Poirot in a “whodunnit” contest at the world premiere of The Mysterious Affair at Styles at Hedgerow Theatre from March 17 to May 8. Artistic Director Jared Reed’s adaptation of Agatha Christie’s first novel, published in 1920, brings the tale that introduced Poirot to the stage for the first time.
The Belgian sleuth has recently resettled in England because of World War I. He is called in to help his friend Capt. Arthur Hastings at Styles Court, an estate outside London where Hastings is recuperating from a war injury. Its wealthy owner, Emily Inglethorp, is found dying of strychnine poisoning the morning after she was overheard arguing with an unidentified person. It’s a difficult case because there are so many possible suspects, all of whom could have had reason to want to Emily dead: her much younger husband, Alfred; her two stepsons, John and Lawrence Cavendish; John’s wife, Mary; Cynthia Murdoch, the orphaned daughter of a family friend; Evelyn Howard, her assistant; and Dorcas, the eavesdropping maid. Poirot and Hastings team up to search for clues and uncover a tangled web of lies and deceit.
Theatergoers can vote during intermission at each performance for the character they believe is the culprit. The winner, selected from those who correctly name the murderer, will receive two tickets to the next Hedgerow show, The Servant of Two Masters, a classic Italian farce by Carlo Goldini.
Zoran Kovcic leads an ensemble of new and veteran Hedgerow actors as Poirot, a role he’s playing for the fourth time, having received rave reviews for his previous performances in two productions of Black Coffee in 1993 and 2011, and in Alibi in 2001.
Two of his castmates from the 1993 Black Coffee, Shaun Yates and veteran actress Susan Wefel, portray Hastings and Dorcas. They’re joined by company member Brock D. Vickers as Lawrence, Fellows Allison Bloechl as Evelyn, Mark Swift as Alfred and Josh Portera in multiple roles; returning players Stacy Skinner as Emily and Ned Pryce as John; and newcomers Emily Parker as Cynthia and Bonnie Baldini as Mary. Reed also directed the production.
Adult ticket prices for Friday, Saturday evening and Sunday shows are $34; Thursday and Saturday twilight shows are $29. There is a $3 discount for seniors. Tickets for those 30 and under are $20. For groups of 10 or more, tickets are $18. Members can purchase half-price tickets for all shows. Prices include all fees and are subject to change.
For reservations or more info, call 610-565-4211 or visit www.HedgerowTheatre.org. Hedgerow Theatre is located at 64 Rose Valley Road in Rose Valley (near Media).