Dates:10 - 25 January 2003
To Tom Stoppard nothing is sacred. Theatre critics and "whodunnits" are
fair game for his sending up. And send them up he does! With
The Real Inspector Hound, John Paterson and his cast and crew enjoy
themselves and entertain the audience enormously in this ingenious hour
and half's joke. The pretentiousness of the English theatre critics and
the overacted country house mystery drama are deliciously presented here
for a Canadian audience. The very Englishness of this play does not escape
the director's wit in this fine production.
Vivien Nishi's clever
set provides the requisite multiple entrances, decorated with stained
glass windows, yet leaving the actors plenty of playing space and room
to negotiate or move the suitably tatty furniture. The costumes are outrageous,
drab, or just plain ordinary, but are appropriate and enhancing to the
characters. The sound and light designers also enter into the success
of this hugely funny presentation with their ingenious use of their specialized
As the critics, Moon
and Birdboot, David C. Jones and Tristram Ham, after an opportunity to
show off their knowledge and taste in theatre in general and bafflement
at the solution to this mystery, find themselves drawn into the onstage
action, with much bewilderment, after the mysterious shooting of Simon
(Jesse Clark) and the incredible Inspector Hound (Peter Abrams).
As Mrs Drudge, Leanne
Koehn displays an acute sense of timing and characterization. Her attitude
to the lady of the manor (Eden Parker) and her disdain for the visiting
tennis-playing friend Felicity (Denise Jones), are delightful, as is her
skill (?) at taking telephone messages. As Magnus, Jeffrey Leagh Fisher
is a formidable ex-commando, still armed to the teeth, even in his precisely
steered wheel chair.
And don't forget
the body by the wall (Michael Berdan), which remains present throughout
the play. Of course, there's a surprise solution to the mystery, but to
enjoy the unsuspected final jest, go and see The Real Inspector Hound
and laugh yourself to aching point. It's worth it.
The Real Inspector
Hound runs Tuesday through Sunday, 9
- 25 January
2003 at 20.00 at Presentation House, 333 Chesterfield Avenue, North Vancouver.
Tickets $15 adults/$11 seniors, students, available at the door or by
reservation at 604.990.3474.