With the title The Butler Did It, you’d think the solution to Cow Patti’s season-opening murder mystery would be super obvious.
But nothing is straight-forward about this whodunnit by brothers Peter and Walter Marks, which opens on Thursday, Nov. 10, at the Lacombe Golf and Country Club.
For one thing, virtually all the characters on stage are called butler: There’s Mr. Butler, Mrs. Butler and their daughter, Miss Butler. There’s also the Butler’s butler (who happens to be called Aldo).
Cow Patti’s artistic director, AnnaMarie Lea, said Cow Patti’s 20th anniversary dinner theatre production begins with Raymond and Angela Butler sitting down for an after-dinner coffee on Christmas Eve. Shortly after the arrival of daughter, Victoria Butler, the doorbell rings and a gift arrives for Angela.
“She opens the present, and all hell breaks loose!” added Lea, with a gleeful chuckle.
To say any more would spoil the plot, which Lea hints messes with the audience’s perception of stage ‘reality.’
Suffice it to say the play is very physical, she added. There are pratfalls, eccentric characters and, of course, one or more theatrical deaths.
For this production, the entire cast is made up of professional actors Lea is bringing in from Ontario. Five of the six actors will be performing dual roles.
Several will be familiar faces from past Cow Patti productions, including Patric Masurkevitch, who plays Detective Mumford. (He was memorable as Italian investor Fuferelli in Who’s Under Where?) Linda Goranson, who portrays Mrs. Butler, was last seen in The Cemetery Club. And Garfield Andrews (Mr. Butler) appeared in Boeing Boeing and The Long Weekend.
Lea, who’s directing, hasn’t stopped giggling during rehearsals. “There are so many twists and turns … and, with some of the lines, we’re just killing ourselves laughing …”
She said The Butler Did It breaks a streak of comedies and farces because Cow Patti wanted to do something a little different to kick-start it’s 20th season, and provide some heightened escapist fun during an economically tough time.
“This is a perfect fit. It offers fun and laughs, and also keeps people guessing.”
A portion of tickets sales will go to support nine local charities. Cow Patti has, so far, raised more than $460,000 for non-profits, and Lea is hoping to break the half-million mark this season (which will also include the play Wally’s Cafe in February).
For more information, as well as tickets to the show that runs to Dec. 10, please visit firstname.lastname@example.org or call 403-304-6329.