Busybody

By Jack Popplewell

Directed by Dustin Martin
June 8 to 24, 2012


Read the Reviews:
Waukesha Freeman, WaukeshaNOW

Photos:
Click on a photo to see a larger image

Photos By Carroll Studios Of Photography

Volunteer of the Production

Zach Zembrowski

Katie Tells Us About The Show

Cast  

James Boylan

Robert Westerby

Michael Choabanoff

Richard Marshall

Jonathan Danner

Detective Goddard

Katlin Drew

Vickie Reynolds

Teresa Drews

Claire Marshall

Beth Perry

Mrs. Piper

John Pfannerstill

Detective Baxter

Kelly Simon

Marian Selby

Production Staff  

Director

Dustin Martin

Stage Manager

Katie Danner

Assistant Stage Manager

Debi Mumford

Lighting Designer

Scott Fudali

Sound Designer

Aaron Schmidt

Scenic Designer/Set Decorator/Master Carpenter

Michael Talaska

Costume Designer

Sallie Burkard

Properties Designer

Shawn Spellman

Wig Master

Anthony Mackie

WCT calls it a season with hilarious mystery ‘Busybody’ caps 55th year for downtown Waukesha community theater

By JULIE McHALE - TimeOut Theater Critic
June 14, 2012

WAUKESHA - The Waukesha Civic Theatre closes its 55th season with a comic whodunit by Jack Popplewell. “Busybody” keeps us guessing and chuckling all the way, thanks especially to the engaging performance of Beth Perry in the starring role as Mrs. Piper, the busybody.

The setting, nicely designed by Michael Talaska, is a corporate office run by Richard Marshall, where Mrs. Piper, the cleaning woman, discovers a dead body slumped over a chair with a knife in its back. By the time the police arrive, the body has disappeared. She also discovers that Detective Baxter - the man in charge of the case - is someone she knew in their childhood, so she is not as impressed with him as he is impressed with himself. Their bantering accounts for some of the humor as she tries to help him solve the murder, and he is only annoyed with her “help.”

Along the way, we meet all those who work for Richard Marshall, a man who is not loved by many. Logan is out of town, so we never meet him, but we do meet Vickie Reynolds, an attractive typist; Marian Selby, Marshall’s private secretary (Kelly Simon); and Robert Westerby, his accountant.

We also meet Claire, Richard’s wife (Teresa Drews), who according to Marian, is having an affair with someone. Affairs always add some extra spice and possible motive for a crime. An eighth character is Baxter’s assistant, Detective Goddard (Jonathan Danner).

The play is well cast. Besides Perry as the stellar Mrs. Piper, John Pfannerstill plays the blustery role of Detective Baxter well. We enjoy watching his ego being deflated a bit by the insightful cleaning woman.

James Boylan is also impressive as the slick Westerby. Another standout is Katlin Drew as the sexy Vickie Reynolds. Michael Chobanoff captures the confident, take-charge stance of the boss, Richard Marshall.

The twists in the plot keep us guessing right up to the end, but much of the enjoyment of “Busybody” is watching Perry’s mind work and listening to her observations of everyone, including some very amusing references to her rather useless husband.

I don’t want to give any clues as to who murdered whom and why, so I will keep this review short. “Busybody” is worth seeing, though. It was obvious that the audience was relishing the experience.

Directed by Dustin J. Martin, the show runs through June 24 at the Waukesha Civic, 264 W. Main St., Waukesha. For show times and tickets, call 262-542-0708.

Review Title

By Reviewer Name
Posted: Month 16, 2011

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WCT's murder mystery cleans up the laughs

By Marilyn Jozwik - WaukeshaNOW Theater Critic
June 12, 2012

When a murder has been committed, lots of people turn into detectives to try to solve the crime.

But there is perhaps none more unusual than the cleaning woman in "Busybody," who discovers a body while working in an office one evening.

"Busybody," Waukesha Civic Theatre's latest offering, combines a classic whodunit story with the meddling Mrs. Piper (Beth Perry), the cleaning lady who holds keys - sometimes literally - to the murder, yet confounds and annoys Detective Baxter (John Pfannerstill), an old chum, with her theories, insinuations and double talk.

Mrs. Piper finds a body with a letter opener in its back. She insists it is her boss, Richard Marshall (Michael Chobanoff), a successful, ruthless developer, but when police arrive the body is gone. Everyone on Marshall's staff is a suspect and is questioned. But was it Marshall, or is Mrs. Piper a little dotty? And then a body is found in another part of town. Is there a connection?

The story gathers a laundry list of motivations and subplots - suspected affairs, unhappy employees, and a bevy of "sacks" by Marshall.

It's a delightful romp with a hilarious finale as the murderer is revealed.

The play's humor emanates from the banter of Baxter and Mrs. Piper. When Mrs. Piper isn't interrupting Baxter's interrogation of witnesses with sarcastic remarks, she's mugging with all sorts of body language and asides to the audience. Perry dives into the role head first, giving Mrs. Piper considerable spunk as she counters Baxter. Early on, Perry's exuberance and Pfannerstill's exasperation were overplayed and the clashing personalities seemed discordant, but by Act II the two settled into a nice rhythm that gave more ease to the comedy.

Mrs. Piper has a ton of laugh lines that Perry delivers nicely, such as when her husband, Fred, is suggested as a suspect in the murder. Says Mrs.Piper: "If I murdered everyone who sacked Fred, I'd need a machine gun and not a paper knife."

A secretary is dismissed as a suspect by Mrs. Piper: "She wouldn't kill any man - she's too fond of them to cut short the supply."

The play is filled with these great one-liners, but with the British accents firmly in place, the audience needs to really tune in. A bit more of a cockney accent for Mrs. Piper might have added another layer to her character but also might have been harder to understand.

Pfannerstill's Detective Baxter verbally spars nicely with Perry's cheeky Mrs. Piper, but needed to have more than one level - besides a high volume shout - to display his annoyance.

Supporting cast in this show was superb. Office secretaries - Vickie Reynolds (Katlin Drew) and Marian Selby (Kelly Simon) -- looked really comfortable in their office settings, taking on their roles of office slacker (Reynolds) and loyal, boss-loving employee (Selby) capably.

Drew let the British lingo - such as "luv," "fab" and "smashing" - slip in easily and naturally through her lines setting her character firmly in the 1960s. Both secretaries have beautiful outfits and great coifs to match, no doubt thanks to wig master Anthony Mackie.

Teresa Drews as the boss's wife, Claire Marshall, also has a great look, but could have infused a bit more emotion into some of her scenes. James Boylan was really slick and smooth as another of Marshall's employees, while Jonathan Danner as Detective Goddard pairs well with his over-taxed superior, Detective Baxter. Chobanoff's Marshall is a good choice for the businessman, though his character never really showed why he is so despised.

Scenic designer Michael Talaska has created a rich-looking office setting with large expanses of "wood" and fine furnishings, befitting the successful businessman. The volume of the bright orange and variations of it on the wall might've been toned down a notch or two.

Director Dustin J. Martin had performers firing on all-cylinders opening night for an appreciative audience.

Volunteer of the Production - Zach Zembrowski

Zach became involved in the production during tech week with an overabundance of enthusiasm and willingness. He was continually doing not only what was expected, but what the cast and crew didn’t even know they needed. He could always be counted on to get the job done. Congratulations, Zach!