The Butler Did It at Diamond Head Theatre
When I heard that Diamond Head Theatre’s newest show, a whodunnit comedy-thriller, was not the usual musical lineup, I decided that I had to go see The Butler Did It. While I am not a total fan of the story, written by Walter Marks and Peter Marks in 1981, there were still a few things I enjoyed about Diamond Head Theatre’s performance of it.
Set in 1983 New York City, it’s about a play within a play, which depicts a director Anthony Lefcourt (played by Timothy Jeffryes) conducting rehearsals for his off-Broadway, murder-mystery play titled The Butler Did It. Think you know whodunnit? Here’s the catch: all central characters are named Butler. The rehearsal scenes are comical with the men and women giving over-the-top dramatic stares, longer-than-normal pauses and the theatrical feminine shrieks of terror. And, Jeffryes is believable as the no-holds-barred director who will do anything to have his play become a success.
An interesting thing happens midway through the play as the director teaches the actors (and audience) the difference between a suspense and a thriller—the former creates audience anxiety with the knowledge that something is coming, while the latter is, for instance, when you see a murderer put poison into a cup and then make the audience wait to see what happens. It is after this lesson that we spend scene after scene watching multiple murder attempts and then we have to wait to see what happens.
Who is murdered? And, by whom? It proves to be a shocking twist. I’m not telling.
February 3 to February 19, 2012, Diamond Head Theatre, 520 Makapuu Avenue, 733-0277. diamondheadtheatre.com.
Posted on Tuesday, February 7, 2012 in Permalink