BWW Review: THE MYSTERY OF EDWIN DROOD Provides a Chance to Choose Your Own Ending!

BWW Review: THE MYSTERY OF EDWIN DROOD Provides a Chance to Choose Your Own Ending!

What do you do when an author dies before his work is finished? You make it into a "choose your own adventure" musical of course! Audience goers get the rare experience of choosing not only the murderer, but also which lovers end up together and who plays the detective in The Actors Theatre of Indiana's production of The Mystery of Edwin Drood. Charles Dickens never had the chance to let readers know how he would've wrapped up the novel, but now we can all try our hand at solving the mystery.

The show is in constant motion with cast members moving set pieces on and off stage to create new scenes. There's a bar, a dressing room, a brothel, a dinner party, etc. all in the small space the stage allows. It's an ambitious production with a large cast of local talent. Stephen Hollenbeck's excellent costumes range from top hats to kimonos and corsets and completes the illusion that we're seeing a music hall performance in the late 19th century.

Paul Collier Hansen performs my favorite number in the show. He plays Bazzard, a shy minor character who finally gets his chance to shine in "Never the Luck". The song reminded me of Hansen's role in ATI's Chicago in 2011 and his haunting rendition of "Mister Cellophane". Judy Fitzgerald is clearly having fun with the role of Princess Puffer and her playful spirit is contagious. Harli Cooper's performance of "Moonfall" as Rosa Bud was another treat.

When the musical opened in 1985 it was a hit and won the Tony award for best musical. In this new iteration the show's author, Rupert Holmes, has reworked it so it can be more easily adapted to regional productions. The musical has no intermission and relies completely on audience participation. The high-energy cast uses ballots inserted into each program to take a vote on the killer's identity. There are a huge number of possible outcomes, which means unpredictable final numbers and surprising duets. You could see the show over and over again and never get the exact same production.

Don't Miss the Show

Actors Theatre of Indiana is located in the Studio Theater at the Center for the Performing Arts, 4 Center Green, Carmel, IN 46032. "The Mystery of Edwin Drood" runs until Sunday, May 13. Times for performances can be found and ordered here or by calling the box office at (317) 843-3800.

Photos Courtesy of Actors Theatre of Indiana

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From This Author Melissa Hall

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