“Postmortem” @ Archway Theatre plays through April 30
Written by Ken Ludwig
Directed by Steven Sabel
NoHo theatre is such a delicious jumble of genres.
We are so lucky to have such a diverse smorgasbord of theatre companies bravely and ambitiously tackling plays with a passionate admiration of the writers and their importance in the theatrical universe.
One such particularly ambitious theatre company is Archway Theatre. A wonderful group of actors with a consistently impressive artistic director, Steven Sabel, who also directs the plays. Every single play that I have seen at this theatre is totally different from the last – from Shakespeare to Greek tragedy and now another piece of history, Sherlock Holmes.
I had a lovely Sunday afternoon watching some gifted actors in a revival of the celebrated playwright Ken Ludwig’s fabulous murder mystery “Postmortem.” It’s a kind of a play within a play, or at least it’s a play about a group of actors in a play on a rare weekend off, and that play is Sherlock Homes.
“Postmortem” is written by the brilliant Ken Ludwig who wrote the multi-award-winning “Lend Me a Tenor,” “Crazy for You” as well as another play about William Gillette’s hugely successful performances of the Sherlock Holmes mysteries on the Broadway stage, “The Game’s Afoot.”
Mr Gillette was an icon of American theatre in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. His performances as Sherlock Holmes, more that 1,300 of them, were instrumental in creating modern american theatre, using realistic sets, sound effects and props, it really catapulted American theatre into the world stage, as it were.
So Ken Ludwig wrote a play about William Gillete and his company of actors spending a weekend ‘upstate’ together. In the play, it is a year to the day that Mr Gillette’s wife had died tragically, suicide. As the cast of players arrive it is clear that things are not exactly as they seem. Mr Gillete has arranged a seance, and you know how they always turn out!
“Postmortem” is a delightful jaunt through the mystery genre, full of dramatic implications and fellas falling in love with the wrong girl…it’s just brilliant!
Everyone was spectacular of course, throwing themselves into their roles, all tantrums, scotch, great clothes and flinging hemlines. The set is a bit of a star too, just enough realism to help out the story, but not enough to get in the way of the performances. These characters are so much fun and the story is part farce, part period piece, part murder mystery and all class.
It’s a ‘who done it’ in the purest sense of the genre, with heartbreak and hidden agendas, jealousy, deceit and fake identity…just your usual weekend in the country!
Archway Theatre always seem to be living out their deepest fantasies when they pick their plays. It’s such fun to wonder what they will do next. But until then “Postmortem” is definitely well worth your time, I highly recommend it!
10509 Burbank Blvd.
North Hollywood 91601
April 1 – April 30
Friday & Saturday 8pm, Sunday at 2pm
Tom Betterton, Carlton Totten, Kate Hart, Hillary Weintraub, John Eddings, Steven Sabel, Sally Schaub, Sara Davenport.
Steven Sabel, Garrick LeWinter, John Eddings, Sara Davenport, Hillary Weintraub, Eleonora Palagi, Annie Freeman, Madeleine Heil, Elias McCabe