White Rock Players Club’s production of Accomplice features (left to right)

White Rock Players Club’s production of Accomplice features (left to right)

Nothing is quite as it seems

Mystery-thriller Accomplice leaves audience guessing

White Rock Players Club’s latest presentation,  Accomplice, is an evening’s entertainment that is sure to keep people guessing.

Ostensibly a mystery thriller of the Sleuth/Deathtrap school of puzzlers, it’s also a satire of the conventions of the idiom.

And that includes plot twists so unexpected that, in the hands of  playwright Rupert Holmes, they amount to paradigm shifts.

Ultimately, you may end up wondering not so much who did it as what play you’re watching.

A clever, rather than brilliant, script, it’s generally well-served by director David Lloyd Austin and his cast, ensuring that Accomplice is a pleasant way to wile away an hour or two, particularly if  you have a taste for theatrical in-jokes and if you’re liberal enough not to be embarrassed by a frankly sexual scene.

Since it would be churlish to give away the show’s well-guarded secrets, it’s difficult to describe the character roles and their multiple evolutions in any detail. Suffice it to say this show, which begins in “the moorland cottage of Derek and Janet Taylor on an English afternoon,” demands versatility of its actors.

Ben Odberg and Lori Tych, last seen together in the Players’ Earth and Sky, demonstrate they have all the versatility required.

They are a pleasure to watch in material like this, adeptly nailing British accents, having fun with physical comedy and fully realizing the potential of the show’s witty lines and stereotypical characters.

While physically fine for his role, Brent Cross is clearly at sea suggesting a non-Canadian accent, and when this becomes less important in the second act, he is much more effective.

Sunny Stump, a newcomer to the White Rock stage, makes the most of  her role – a limited bimbo-like character who may just be a little brighter than one might suppose.

The liabilities of Accomplice are mainly inherent in the script, which has a tendency to abandon logic and believability in its determination to shock and surprise.

Some guesswork in this production is unnecessary, however. We shouldn’t have to wonder, for instance, if an unclear sound effect is the flushing of a toilet, breaking glass or the operation of a garburetor.

And while the Players Club has provided a serviceable basic set for the moorland cottage, the mismatched furniture and decor suggests basement rec room, not the country residence of  a prosperous English couple.

It may be argued that Accomplice is a play in which nothing, ultimately, is quite what it seems.

But anything that undermines the sleight-of-hand at any point in the proceedings, as this does, has to be counted as an unacceptable distraction.

Accomplice continues nightly until Saturday (Oct. 29) at 8 p.m. at the Coast Capital Playhouse, 1532 Johnston Rd.

For tickets and information, call the box office at 604-536-7535 or go online to

www.whiterockplayers.ca

 

 

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