Murder done right

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By Jennifer Garcia

Murder, mystery and intrigue are all a part of any good murder mystery. Los Alamos Little Theater’s adaptation of Agatha Christie’s “Go Back for Murder” is no exception.
The advertisements and articles leading up to the show intrigued me. I definitely wanted to see this play. I love a good murder mystery, so I was hoping this production wouldn’t disappoint.
It didn’t.
The play begins with Agatha Christie (Jody Shepard) and Hercule Poirot (Russ Hopper) gracing the stage. Poirot introduces the audience to the play’s characters and the first scene begins with Carla Lemarchant (Linda Taylor) walking into attorney Justin Fogg’s office, during which she tells him about the letter her mother, Caroline Crale (Linda Taylor), wrote, claiming her innocence in Amyas Crale’s (Don Monteith) murder 16 years prior. Determined to clear her mother’s name, Carla embarks on a journey to find her father’s true murderer.
Hopper does a fine job in keeping up his French accent for the role of Poirot. In fact, just about all of the characters are able to pull off their English accents. Although I must admit, I was a little disappointed with Meredith Blake’s (Stuart Schaller) accent. It seemed to fade in and out. One minute he sounded like an Englishman, the next he didn’t. The same can be said of Amyas Crale. His English accent sounded light to me.
The set design on the other hand, was innovative. For each scene, windows and bookshelves were moved and furniture as well as paintings and home décor was added and taken away at a moment’s notice, to make the set look like a kitchen, an office, a living room and finally, a terrace.
The telephone sitting on the table in Carla’s home rang on — and was answered on — cue. The costumes were appropriate for the time period and the props fit well with each scene. The only complaint I have is that Phillip Blake (Todd Graves) was reading a copy of the “New Mexican” instead of the “Monitor” in one scene!
The play’s pace wasn’t what I’d call edge-of-your-seat exciting, but it was such that I remained interested during the two-plus hours it spanned. I expected the play to last about an hour-and-a-half, but it edged closer to two-and-a-half hours, which seemed to be a problem for my teenage son, who began fidgeting in his seat right before intermission. However, after some treats provided by LALT during intermission, he was energized and ready for the second half.
The first half introduces the audience to the characters, or suspects. Everyone is a suspect in Amyas’ murder, except for Carla, because she was so young when her father died. Because she hopes to clear her mother’s name so she can marry her Canadian fiancé, Carla insists on meeting everyone who was at her parents’ house the day of her father’s murder — including his mistress, Elsa Greer (Sandra Ward).
During the second half, the characters meet at the Crales’ home to recreate the day Amyas died. At the end of the play, the killer is revealed.
Upon entering the theater, attendees are handed a slip of paper with the list of characters, along with their program. The idea is for audience members to choose the character that they believe killed Amyas. During intermission, the slips of paper are dropped into a box and at the end of the play, a drawing is held.
The correct answers are placed in a box, one is chosen and the winner receives a copy of Agatha Christie’s book, “Go Back for Murder.”
Though I enjoyed the play, I would not recommend taking young children to see it. Because it tends to be a longer-running play and because of it’s plot, I think it’s better suited for adults and some teenagers.