POS production is hilarious

Published 2:35 pm Friday, March 11, 2011

Picayune On Stage presents “Let’s Murder Marsha,” a comedy written by Monk Ferris, at the Picayune On Stage Theater, beginning Friday, March 11 at 8 p.m.

The play is set in the home of Marsha and Tobias Gilmore. The feel of the set is intimate and cozy; it is complete with a fireplace and bar, where the witty maid is always mixing (and sipping) martinis.

The main characters are: Marcia Gilmore— a happy housewife who indulges in her love or reading slasher mystery novels, is played by Tara Poolson; Tobias Gilmore— a devoted, indulgent husband (or is he?), is played by Ben Poolson; Bianca the maid— a worldly, martini sipper, is played by Chloe Clutter; Virgil Baxter— the secretive and naive neighbor, is played by Nick Chatelain; Persis Devore— exotic and mysterious interior decorator who arrives unannounced to meet with Tobias Gilmore, is played by Caitlin Palmer; Marsha’s mother, Lynette— is on the scene to celebrate Marsha’s birthday and unwittingly gives her a birthday gift that will play a pivotal part in a murder plot, is played by Liz Flynt; and Officer Ben Quade— a dedicated police officer who is smitten with Bianca and whose arrival becomes the catalyst for the increasing tension in the group. Quade is played by Brandon Keeney.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

The play centers around Marsha Gilmore, a seemingly carefree and just a little absent-minded housewife, who is loved and spoiled by her adoring husband Tobias. Marsha is secure and content in her world where the only source of contention with her husband is her love of reading slasher mystery novels. She reads them anyway; she hides them from Tobias so he won’t disapprove.

When Tobias unexpectedly has a home visit from his decorator, Persis Devore, while Marsha is thought to be out, Marsha overhears part of a discussion which sounds like they are plotting to murder her on her birthday. This initial misunderstanding leads to her convincing Bianca to help her avoid the murder and eventually plotting a murder of her own with the help of the neighbor, Virgil Baxter. Lots of misunderstandings, double meanings and hidden agendas lead to the involvement of Bianca’s date, Officer Ben Quade and a life lesson for Marsha.

Director Donna Aguilard has done a terrific job of casting the characters, stage layout and scene blocking. Her commitment to this project comes through in the ambiance of the setting and performance of the actors.

Tara Poolson gives a convincingly comedic performance as Marsha. She brings the perfect combination of helplessness and calculating behavior to the play as her survival instincts kick in to thwart the perceived threat to her life.

Poolson’s last project was as the director of Alice in Wonderland, which was a delight to watch and she does not disappoint on the actor side of a production. 

Ben Poolson plays Tobias Gilmore and embodies the character of the patient, loving husband who goes to great lengths to see that his wife doesn’t discover his secret. He is a solid counterpoint to Marsha’s character and brings great balance to the scenes.

Chloe Clutter’s performance as Bianca is priceless. Clutter brings a self- assured, mischievous element to her character and is a great backup to Tara Poolson’s Marsha.

Nick Chatelain plays Virgil Baxter. He is a younger man that has been secretly smitten with Marsha for some time and can’t believe that she may be interested in him. He is brought into Marsha’s scheme to help her survive the murder attempt, on the suggestion of Bianca, and is quick to do Marsha’s bidding.

Persis Devore is played by Caitlin Palmer. She has no idea of the chaos into which she has gotten herself or helps to create. Her long hair, trench coat and sparkling “Jackie-O” glasses fit her character perfectly. She is a strong element in this cast.

Brandon Keeney plays Officer Ben Quade and shines as Bianca’s date and pawn to her affections. He is highly suspicious and quick to act; this brings the plot evolution to a climax and resolution in a satisfactory time.

Liz Flynt plays Marsha’s mother, Lynette. She is disarmingly devious as she thwarts her daughter’s plans for murder and unwittingly contributes to the chaos of the evening.

Let’s Murder Marsha is enjoyable to see, provides a lot of laughs and is well-performed.

The play’s run is Friday, March 11 through 13 and Friday, March 18 through 20 at Picayune On Stage Theater, 322 W. Canal St. Show times are: Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. Reservations can be made by calling 601-749-5551 or e-mail: poscalendar@gmail.com.