Corpse
Reviewed by David Kashimba
Photo by Kim Taylor

Ross Valley Players brings Corpse to life with a stunning dual performance by Gary Breeds. Corpse, an English murder mystery by Gerald Moon, is set in London during December 1936. The central characters are Evelyn and Rupert Farrant, a set of twins that look alike but are as different as day and night in character. This is the challenge that Breeds takes on when he plays both distinctly different men. Evelyn, the older brother by five whole minutes, is an out of work actor who hates and envies his rich younger brother Rupert so much that he comes up with a fantastic plan to kill Rupert and assume his wealthy identity. Breeds never misses a beat when switching from one brother to the other and uses their distinct characteristics to comic advantage when playing Evelyn impersonating Rupert.

But nothing is what it seems in this comic murder mystery. Just when the audience is completely distracted by laughter, the plot takes one of many almost magical twists and we feel that we have been clandestinely attacked by a band of very entertaining guerrilla fighters, stripped naked and left to laugh at ourselves for not seeing it coming.

Adding to the mystery and comedy is the Irish alcoholic, Major Powell (John Anthony Nolan) who Evelyn contracts to murder his brother. Nolan was last seen in the part of The Common Man in Ross Valley Players’ A Man For All Seasons. Born in London of Irish parents, Nolan adds a twist of Irish whiskey humor to the cutting acerbic taste of this English comedy.

Another plus is Marilyn Krieger Hughes who plays Evelyn’s lonely landlady with a sexual abandon that keeps Evelyn on the run. Hughes, who is both an actress and playwright, recently won first prize for her play Cosmetic Counter at the Marin Fringe Festival.

This is the most entertaining Corpse you’re likely to see, at least while you’re still alive. For tickets or more information call (415) 456-9555 or visit www.rossvalleyplayers.org.

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