ACTS presenting ‘The Game’s Afoot’ next two weekends


If murder-mysteries and comedies intrigue you, check out Actors Community Theater of Seymour’s production of "The Game’s Afoot."

Ken Ludwig’s show features actor William Gillette, who is shot during the curtain call of the Sherlock Holmes stage play he wrote. He then hosts four friends for a Christmas Eve party at his state-of-the-art Connecticut home. Included in the party are his mother and a newspaper critic.

A suspicious death, a couple of murders and the arrival of a local police inspector throw the evening into an uproar as the guests begin to suspect each other of the deaths.

Gillette assumes the persona of his fictional character, Sherlock Holmes, as he attempts to help the inspector solve the crimes.

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"This show is fantastic," said Richie Stephan, who plays the role of Gillette and is the director’s assistant.

"I was supposed to just be the assistant director, but I could not stay away," he said. "It’s a rip-roaring comedy. It’s kind of a satire. If you like comedies, come and see it. If you like murder-mysteries, come and see it. If you don’t like the murder-mysteries, come see this one still. There is something in here for everyone. There are so many clever, witty lines. It’s not what I expected at all. I especially love that about this show."

The show, directed by Betty Baute, will be staged at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday and again Dec. 20 and 21 at the theater, 357 Tanger Blvd., Suite 208, at Shops at Seymour. Doors open at 7 p.m.

Tickets are $12 and may be ordered online at or purchased at the door.

"The Game’s Afoot" isn’t a theater’s typical holiday production. Baute said it’s set around Christmas but isn’t really all about the holiday.

"The show is well written," she said. "Ken Ludwig does great shows. He writes fantastic comedies. I’ve directed a Ken Ludwig (show) once before. It’s just a lot of fun. I like comedies. I’ve had enough drama in my life. I don’t like dramas. This one will keep you guessing all the way until the end."

The other actors pointed out the comedic element, too.

"The humor in this show is what’s so much fun," said Elyse McGill, who plays the role of newspaper critic Daria Chase. "There’s physical comedy. There are little, slight digs, especially from my character. Overall, it’s witty, it’s physical, it’s just a very comedic show."

Dakoda Bland, who portrays Simon Bright, said he likes the show because it’s a funny murder-mystery.

"It’s not a Sherlock Holmes play, but it’s got the same sort of mystery, like whodunit sort of thing," he said. "It’s not a drama like some Sherlock Holmes things. You have to really pay attention to this because it’s giving it to you what’s happening right off the gate. There’s a big plot twist — really good."

Lisa Burrell, who plays Gillette’s dotty mother, Martha, said the show is hilarious.

"It’s not at all what you would expect from the first scene," she said. "Somebody does get killed, and you just don’t know who does it until the very last scene. You’ve got to be here through the whole thing if you want to know what happened."

Burrell also has been able to immerse herself into her character.

"She’s funny, but she’s ditzy. I don’t even know if I’m acting, really," she said, smiling. "My friends, I’ve been telling them, ‘You’re going to wonder whether I’m really acting or not.’ I love this theater, and I love this play. This is my favorite character."

Olivia Murphy said she likes the costumes worn by the actors, particularly her character, Madge Geisel.

"I have always been very enamored with actors and actresses from the ’30s and ’40s, and I watch a lot of old black and white movies," she said. "When this came up, I was like, ‘I’ve got to be in that’ just because I want to dress up like that. We actually play theater actors from the mid- to late ’30s, and I thought, ‘Oh, that’s perfect for me. That’s enough for me.’"

Because it’s not your typical holiday show, that intrigued McGill.

"We see the same type of holiday shows over and over again," she said. "This one … it’s just so different than what we’re used to that it makes it more fun. I enjoy a good drama as an actor. It’s something that I like to sink my teeth into, but this is completely opposite of what I enjoy doing as a rule, so this has been a blast. This is not like anything I’ve ever done before, so I am excited about it."

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What: Ken Ludwig’s "The Game’s Afoot"

When: 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday and again Dec. 20 and 21; doors open at 7 p.m.

Where: Actors Community Theater of Seymour, 357 Tanger Blvd., Suite 208, at Shops at Seymour

Tickets: $12; available online at or at the door

Cast: Richie Stephan, Olivia Murphy, Jeremy Kinnett, Skyla Fields, Dakoda Bland, Lisa Burrell, Elyse McGill and Tiffany Lowe

Director: Betty Baute

Director’s assistant: Richie Stephan

Production assistant and stage manager: Vickey Oliphant

Light and sound technician: Tim Gordon


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