WHODUNIT:  The Game's Afoot  cast (back) Marcus Wade, Elliot Ashton, Danny Moller, Cherie Treloar and (front) Lorraine Lee, Julie Pearce, Tiffany Youngs and Lauren Wade.
WHODUNIT: The Game's Afoot cast (back) Marcus Wade, Elliot Ashton, Danny Moller, Cherie Treloar and (front) Lorraine Lee, Julie Pearce, Tiffany Youngs and Lauren Wade. Contributed

Z-PAC's new play is packed with murder, mystery and mayhem

THE second half of March will be loaded with laughs in Z-PAC Theatre's auditorium.

How do I know?

Because I was invited to a recent rehearsal of the company's next production The Game's Afoot by Ken Ludwig and enjoyed every moment.

Audiences will not only be able to relish the play's hyperbolical farce but, also, whodunit fanatics will have a crime to solve.

In the fictional plot, set on Christmas Eve 1936, the principal protagonist is the famous William Gillette (a real life actor who made his fortune playing the first Sherlock Holmes for

30 years in his own play from the late 19th century through to the early 20th century).

The rest of the play is nothing about real life, more about afterlife; a farcical attempt to solve murders.

Gillette, invites his theatrical cast to his splendid stately home where a theatre critic adds to the body count.

Gillette in cavalier fashion engages his Sherlock persona and confusion prevails with corpses being thrown about like blame after an accident.

From there on it's Fawlty Towers on speed.

His theatrical friends are prone to idiosyncrasies, such as sudden outbursts of Shakespearian quotes.

The ensuing confusion is cleverly plotted as is the mystery.

I, a self-professed whodunit nut, was totally out classed.

Director Liane Mills has gathered a fine cast and directed them well.

Ms Mills' co-operative style is in harmony with the play and it was obvious she has the well-earned respect of her cast.

Gillette/Holmes, as played by Elliot Ashton, is hilarious.

Supported by Marcus Wade as Felix/Moriarty, the pair get to display all kinds of buffoonery.

Lauren Wade in the role of theatre critic Daria Chase excels being provocative and vitriolic, carelessly allowing herself to kick the proverbial bucket.

Outsider, Inspector Goring (Cherie Treloar) enters representing Law and Order (best of luck with that) and Simon (Danny Moller) along with his wealthy wife, Aggie Wheeler (Tiffany Youngs - a fine young actor) throw their hats into the melee.

Not to be left out of the fun in comes Julie Pearce perfectly playing smart cookie Madge Geise.

Bringing more intrigue into the mix, enter Gillette's grandmother Martha, a meandering matriarch.

Patrons who saw the critically acclaimed Driving Miss Daisy will remember Ms Lee in the eponymous role. (Disclaimer she's my wife).

The above ingredients of The Game's Afoot are well shaken and stirred by director Mills and will be presented to audiences this month.

The theatre's brand new state-of-the-art lighting, managed by Jeff Sweeney and Michael Doherty, will greatly enhance the set built by Roger Jennings and team.

Watch The Game's Afoot at ZPAC Theatre, 15 Zephyr St, Scarness.

Performance dates: 7.30pm March 15, 16, 22, 23, 29, 30.

Matinees: 2pm March 17, 23, 24, 30, 31.

Costs: $27. 50 Adults, $22 concession and $16.50 students.

Tickets available online at trybooking.com/TOZS or visit zpactheatre.com.

For information, phone 0418712636.