Who ‘dun’ it? Mora theater company, that’s who

-A A +A

“Murder on the Petulant Express” was brilliant. Oh true, some New York theater snob would probably have sniffed, but this isn’t New York, and we are thankfully lacking in a preponderance of snobs in this area. The fledgling thespians of Mora Area Community Theater put together an outstanding dinner/mystery, performed at the Mora Valley Baptist Church last Friday evening. If this event is any indication, the company of Mora players has a bright future.

I sat down to a table filled with strangers. Two hours later, I departed from a cadre of new friends, people with whom I laughed and plotted and analyzed and worked with as a fun-loving team. The only one at my table potentially unhappy was the chicken we greedily consumed. The bird did not die in vain. Both the performance and the meal were well worth the price of admission.

The evening flowed flawlessly. I had to stop and think about the complexity of everything from preparation and serving of the meal, to the selection and performance of each player, including intricate clues hidden in their speech, dress and accessories. Each table had a well-organized collection of clues, including a fake newspaper, and the mystery was organized in such a way that solving the mystery (which none of us did, by the way) involved cooperation not only with teammates at each table but between tables as well.

The evening was more than entertainment, although it was certainly that as well. I saw a growing sense of collaboration and community among not only the theatrical players but also those who attended.

In my opinion, this was community theater at its best. If this mystery evening is any indication, the Mora Area Community Theater will long be a source of entertainment for locals but also a catalyst for growth and cooperation for the people of Mora County.

The cast members as well as the production crew did an excellent job. An effort to match the accents of their characters exceeded what is normally found in small-town community theater, and costumes did an excellent job of depicting each character and the 1930s era. Cast members were Francisco Chavez, Sherry Headlee, Herman Medina, Theresa Kelly, Rene Medellin, Vicki Brown, David Herrera, Anita Moss, Connie Krusemark, and Ken Krusemark.

I was especially impressed with David Herrara’s efforts at a Bronx accent, despite occasionally sounding mildly Australian, and with Herman Medina’s convincing role as a rather over-zealous politician. Oh yes, one more thing. The hats were fantastic! That special touch of costume magic, perhaps more than anything else, convincingly took me back to a specific time and place.

Kayt C. Peck is a local writer. She may be reached by email at flyingpigs@aol.com