Century Church offers a whodunnit murder mystery

Opening on March 20, Century Theatre Guild continues its season with an intriguing whodunit, Dead on Nine, by Jack Popplewell.

The play is entered in the ACT-CO Festival – a celebration of community theatre from Toronto, York, Durham, Peel, Halton, Dufferin, Simcoe and Muskoka are also eligible to participate. The Festival is divided into three categories: comedies, dramas, and musicals. Each category has a single adjudicator who will see all of the productions in that category.

Dead on Nine is set in a quiet little fishing village in post-war England, and it is a classic murder mystery, chock full of twists and turns. Frustrated playwright Robert Leigh and his scheming, restless wife, Esmeralda, engage in a proverbial game of cat-and-mouse, weaving a web of lies, revenge, and premeditated murder. Throw in a dedicated personal secretary, a WW II veteran playboy and a seasoned detective and there are the makings of an evening of entertainment.

Directed by Martyn Worsnop, the suspenseful mystery boasts a stellar cast of characters: McLean Edwards as playwright Robert Leigh; Jennifer Bartrum as Esmeralda; Ken Noakes as detective Richard Farrow; Doug MacDougall as playboy Tom Hammond; Kathy Venneman as secretary Marion Dale; and Lorraine Hickling as housekeeper Gladys Fotheringhay, with a special cameo appearance by Worsnop as entertainer Leslie Booth.

The challenge for audiences is to unravel the mystery that is Dead on Nine.

Dead on Nine runs March 20 to 29 at the Century Church Theatre in Hillsburgh, Fridays and Saturdays at 8pm, and Sundays at 2:30pm. Tickets are $20, and can be reserved by calling the box office at 519-855-4586. Theatre-goers can also enjoy a special three-course Sunday lunch at The Pantry Shelf in Hillsburgh for $20 including tax if pre-booked when the tickets are ordered.

At the end of the festival, each adjudicator chooses nominees and recipients of awards, called Theas, presented in categories recognizing a variety of artistic achievements, including best production, announced and presented at the annual ACT-CO gala. One of the three “Best Productions” is chosen by the adjudicators to represent ACT-CO at the Theatre Ontario Festival.