I will come out and say this first, The Mystery of Edwin Drood is hysterical. You will laugh at loud and find yourself hissing the villain. The jokes are spot on, the acting is top notch and the ending is almost entirely up to the audience. It’s unlike any other production I have ever seen, a play within a play with a Clue like ending. The only flaw is that the songs were often garbled, and the music was uneven because of technical issues. If SRO Productions can fix the technical issues the show is practically flawless.
The show is presented to the audience as the production of a low end British troupe, who in turn is presenting the titular Edwin Drood. This allows them to completely do away with the fourth wall as well as make wholly ludicrous changes in the play for the sake of comedy. The comedy is both physical and mental, and the technical effects are impressive as the timing is spot on. The cast plays the crowd masterfully, even joining the audience to egg on the performers on stage. The play is laugh out loud funny, there is no denying it.
The songs were a mixed bag, more than half the songs were drowned out by the music. There was an issue with the music that had most of the music playing loudly to only one side. For many of the songs the words just blended together making the songs almost unintelligible. The song Murderer’s Confession I couldn’t make out a single verse, while No Good Can Come from Bad was also hard to understand. The songs that were understandable were done well, A Man Could Go Quite Mad, Ceylon and Moonfall stood out. The best song by far was Both Sides of the Coin, with Seth Cunningham and Danny Dyer engaging in increasingly more difficult synchronized wordplay that has to be seen to be believed.
With the choose your own adventure ending, it’s tricky to review the play as one show’s villain is the next show’s villain. In addition, the actors are playing other actors playing the characters so they switch between personas frequently. Seth Cunningham steals every scene he’s in as with his Jekyll and Hyde inspired John Jasper. Elizabeth Curtin belts out some of the most memorable tunes along with Sarah Myers for the first half of the show. There are no weak performances in the show among the performers. The actors that were selected by the audience in my screening was Carian Lynee Parker, Stephanie Rascoe Myers, Eric Domuret and John Watkins.
Is the show perfect? No. The sound issues were distracting at best and confusing at times. Is it very good? Absolutely. The only real issues with the play can mostly be fixed by adjusting the sound system. The actors are funny, the writing is well done and the directing is seamless. If you don’t like the ending you can always change it so if you don’t like how it ends, that’s your fault, not the play.
The Mystery of Edwin Drood is playing at the Obsidian Theatre until October 14. Due to the show being postponed by Harvey there are additional performances scheduled. 3522 White Oak
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