Wesley Larraby (John Edwards) examines a skull in his uncle Carlton's den in the Larraby mansion during the first act of "Much Ado About Murder," a Community Players production opening Thursday. Millionaire Carlton Larraby is killed prior to hosting a Halloween party, and the play invites audience participation in solving the crime. The play also offers the audience an opportunity to ask questions directly to the cast late in the second act. Also pictured are, left to right, Kimberly Trent (Lauren Cook), Jolene Larraby (Melissa Bilyeu), Steven McDonald (Rick Moser), Malcolm Larraby (Russ Korth) and Leslie Larraby (Daniel Halstead).

On Stage: 'Much Ado' adds unique twist on murder mystery

By TERRY MATHEWS, News-Telegram Arts Editor

Oct. 8, 2008 - An evening at the theater doesn't often include an opportunity to get a close look at the sets or interact with the cast unless you are lucky enough to have back stage passes.

The Community Players' new production of "Much Ado About Murder" not only invites the audience to help solve a mystery, it encourages them to ask questions directly to the cast near the end of act two.

"We actually did this play about 14 years ago," said director David Woody, a long-time member of the thespian group who also serves as narrator for the play. "We were trying to find something fun to do."

The plot is straightforward. Rich Carlton Larraby has summoned members of his family and his personal assistant to a Halloween party late on a stormy Sunday afternoon. Larraby, a former math professor, is crazy about the Bard of Avon and requests that each of his guests come dressed as their favorite Shakespearean character.

Everyone assembles in the den of the Larraby mansion in the middle of a loud and scary thunderstorm, but the host is late. In fact, he's the late Carlton Larraby. He's been murdered at his desk in the study. Once a burglary is ruled out, it becomes clear that someone in the house did the dastardly deed and the rest of the action is driven by rooting out the evil doer.

The show opens Thursday, Oct. 9, at 8 p.m. and runs Friday and Saturday of this week and again next Thursday through Saturday, Oct. 16 - 18. There are no Sunday matinees. Tickets are $8. Reservations are recommended. Call 903-886-0107 for more information.

Editor's note: The playbill's last page is blank, so bring a pen to write down clues and make notes during intermission when you examine Larraby's study staged in the theater's lobby. The show runs two hours and thirty minutes, including a 30-minute intermission and time for questions and answers.

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