BWW Review: LEGALLY DEAD Opens at The Mystery Train in Kansas City
The hilarious production of Legally Dead opened Thursday June 26 at The Mystery Train, Murder Mystery Dinner Theater. Legally Dead written and directed by Wendy Thompson opened on June 27 and runs through August 16. The Mystery Train utilizes the Golden Ox in Kansas City, Mo. and Californos in Westport for the performances.
Each performance includes an appetizer, salad, entrée, and dessert and of course the opportunity to solve the murder. Besides the permanent cast, members of the audience are called upon to fill roles of suspects and passengers on the train. In Legally Dead, the audience plays the roles of Paige Townley, Annette Parsons, Dr. Scott Townley, and Newton Filbert.
Legally Dead takes place on a northbound train headed to Kansas City in June of 1903. The Great Flood of 1903 had left areas of Kansas City and surrounding communities covered by floodwaters. Some of the passengers are going to Kansas City to see Miss Tiera Farrow graduate from the Kansas City School of Law, the first woman to graduate from that school.
In 1915, Farrow defended Clara Schweiger for murdering her husband in the main corridor of a Kansas City courthouse. Schweiger shot her estranged husband several times in the hallway over a custody battle involving their son. However, Farrow lost the case but received an enormous amount of publicity for getting her client a lesser sentence.
Tyler Miller plays the parts of Cyrus DeWitt and James East, during the train ride to Kansas City. DeWitt is an attorney from Kansas City who with his better-than-thou attitude towards women probably makes anyone in the audience a suspect. East is a Secret Service Agent who investigates the murder that occurs on the train. Miller's performance as both characters is superb, the use of accents and the clumsy handling of a six-shooter add to the humor already supplied in the script.
Nikki Susco-Taylor is a veteran of The Mystery Train and takes to the rails as Blanche, a passenger with more secrets than Congress. Blanche is a Secret Service want-to-be, self-assigned to work on a case that has taken her on the train to Kansas City. Secret Service does not mean she will not tell you all about it, if you have enough Mystery Train money to give to her. Susco-Taylor is wonderful as the not so secretive passenger.
Heather Elaine Rafferty makes her debut with The Mystery Train as Grace, the passenger who has left her parents' home to attend the graduation of her friend Tierra Farrow and to become her secretary. Rafferty has such magnificent stage presence, whether involved in the dialogue or just listening, as her facial expressions and body language keep her engrossed in what is unfolding. Listen carefully to what Grace says to get a newfound respect for the dictionary.
Jessica Blaze Brigman did a fine job stepping into the role of the conductor for opening night, filling in for Gregory Roberts. There was a slight nervousness apparent in her voice that quickly disappeared as the production moved forward and she performed admirably keeping the production on track (excuse the pun).
Jump aboard for one of the most entertaining train rides you can ever take. Legally Dead continues through August 16 with performances at both the Gold Ox and Californos in Westport. Purchase tickets by calling 816-235-6222 or at The Mystery Train website. Photo courtesy of The Mystery Train.
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