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Monday, 05 November 2012 23:31

It's never who you think

Written by Bob Wilcox
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The Details

Detective-Inspector Frost failed to solve the apparent kidnapping and probable murder of a baby a dozen years ago in a small English village. Now he's returned to Waverton to try to finish the job before he retires. Welcomed on his first visit, now nobody wants him around.

That's the premise of Cat's Cradle, a murder mystery of the standard British type with a respectable number of red herrings and the occasional clever remark, usually from Detective-Inspector Frost. Playwright Leslie Sands you've probably never heard of unless you're a fan of British movies of the mid-20th century, British TV at that time, and the British stage. Sands had a successful career on all three, both as actor and writer.
At the Theatre Guild of Webster Groves, the always reliable Larry Zerega plays Frost with his usual quiet charm, though even he had a few slips in the performance I saw, the third in the run, a performance that often appeared a little ragged and not quite ready.

Prime suspects include Sam Fletcher, owner of the inn where Frost is staying, played by Steve Acheson, and his current wife and Frost's former one-afternoon stand, played by Jadienne Nolan. Anne Egenriether's Pamela Fulton, mother of the murdered child and of a daughter whose wedding is being celebrated, also has suspicious moments, as does the local gentry, Sir Charles Cresswell, played by John Perks. Hardly to be suspected are the young bride, played by Britteny Henry, and the young man played by Clayton Zimmerman that she jilted to marry Sir Charles's son. Nor do we suspect Miss Merton, retired local M.D. now in a steep decline, played with fine range by Judy Moebeck.

John Austermann's set, with faux-medieval inn decorations, looks a little unfinished, like the production as a whole. Lights by Barbara Mulligan and director Debbie Love continue to have problems down left and right. Larry Zerega's sound cues hit their marks, as do the costumes by Mulligan and the cast.

Cat's Cradle comes across as a modestly amusing example of its type that would benefit from a tighter performance.

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