Chris Lee

Echo Players get away with murder

Murder-mystery The Sound of Murder opens Thursday night at Village Theatre

It would certainly be inaccurate to characterize the theatre production

The Sound of Murder as a “whodunnit”.

But who done it is perhaps the only part of the Echo Players’ winter production that isn’t a mystery.

The deliciously convoluted tale of intrigue, shifting alliances and dark suspense opens a three-week run tonight at Village Theatre in Qualicum Beach.

The story, set in the living room of an English village cottage, revolves around the crumbling marriage of Charles Norbury (Chris Lee), a highly successful author of children’s books, his long-suffering wife Anne (Heather Haseltine), and her lover, Peter Marriott (Douglas Aalseth).

Though he has long since stopped caring for Anne, Charles refuses her a divorce, provoking Peter and Anne into a plot that is inadvertently recorded onto the tape player Charles uses in dictating his stories.

When his secretary, Miss Forbes (Susan Warner), overhears the plot, the lights go down on Act I and the stage is set for chaos and a series of startling revelations to come.

Charles Norbury (Chris Lee, right) confronts gunman Peter Marriott (Douglas Aalseth) in the Echo Players production of The Sound of Murder. — Image credit: J.R. Rardon/PQB NEWS

The Sound of Murder is produced by Judi Andrews and is directed by Wendy Punter, who previously directed the same play in Calgary.

Her husband, Don Punter, has designed an elaborate cottage interior with two levels connected by a corner staircase, French doors leading to a garden, and an off-stage front door, each of which takes a turn as the centre of attention at various points.

But the key to the play’s success is its cast, including Barrie Atkinson, an Echo Players newcomer with long theatre experience in Eastern Canada, and David Attley, an Echo veteran who plays Police Constable Nash as a sidekick to Atkinson’s Inspector Davidson.

Haseltine, in particular, shines in a role that requires as much communication through expression and reaction as it does spoken lines. And Lee plays his universally reviled Charles with aplomb.

Anne Norbury (Heather Haseltine) is attended by Inspector Davidson (Barrie Atkinson) after fainting, while police constable Nash (David Attley, rear) fetches brandy in the Echo Players production of The Sound of Murder, which opens tonight at Village Theatre in Qualicum Beach. — Image credit: J.R. Rardon/PQB NEWS

Haseltine, Aalseth and Lee also have physical scenes that they pull off with convincing realism, while Atkinson and Nash provide snippets of comic relief.

In Tuesday night’s final dress rehearsal there were a few minor bobbles of lines. But those are the kind of thing that can be swiftly smoothed out, and the sound and lighting crews were on the mark throughout the two-hour production, which carries its mysteries to the final curtain.

Make a date with The Sound of Murder, and prepare to be slayed.

Evening performances start at

7:30 p.m. and Sunday matinees at 2 p.m. For tickets, dates and other info, call 250-752-3522 or visit www.echoplayers.ca.

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