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Print Editions Saturday September 30th, 2023

Noser commits murder in first-ever theatrical performance

Every murder mystery has its key components — an eccentric detective generally prone to monologues, a suspicious butler, a weapon and a thunderclap or two. A barrel of laughs, though, might not make the shortlist for integral ingredients — unless the writers behind the whodunit are the Brown Noser's dynamic writing duo Jamie Brew '12 and Hallie Cantor '11.

"The Storm of Mystery" — the Noser's first-ever theatrical performance, to be staged tonight in Andrews Dining Hall — promises audiences a plot full of twists and turns imbued with the clever comedy already appreciated by the Noser's readers. It combines sharp one-liners with deliciously entertaining back-and-forth commentary to provide something for everyone.

The production opens at the country house of Samuel Marlowe (David Brescia-Weiller '14). An aspiring detective novelist, Marlowe has decided to crack the psychology of the human heart by staging a murder at his house with the perfect cast of characters, including an eccentric older woman, a wealthy business man, two beautiful young women and a butler-in-chief.

The butler, Horace (David Jacobs '14), steps up to the plate to listen to Marlowe's expository monologues as he delineates the plot of his novel. The interactions between all of the cast members are well-done, but Brescia-Weiller and Jacobs are especially hilarious. They deliver their banter rapidly, keeping the audience on its toes throughout the night.

Brew, a Herald contributing writer, said the idea to write a murder mystery first came to him and Cantor before winter break. They finished the script upon their arrival to campus in January, and from there, the production took off.

Though written by editors of the Noser, casting was open to all students. The assembled cast  knows how to deliver a laugh, jibing with the Noser's characteristic facetious tone. Cast members simultaneously provide depth to their characters that could have easily been written off as rote personalities from past murder mysteries.

The key to the play's success is due to both the work of the actors and the attention to detail the writers paid when creating their characters. Brew and Cantor have successfully breathed new life into an old genre, oftentimes by doing what they do best — making fun of it. For example, Brescia-Weiller's detective is more a caricature of Poirot, Poe and Holmes all rolled into one super-eccentric sleuth.

The setting of the production — Andrews Dining Hall — adds to the play's overall ambiance. The carpeted floor and wall of windows successfully transport the audience to Marlowe's country house. To play upon the production's setting, generally associated with dining, the Noser provides dinner for some members of the audience. Unfortunately, the 100 audience members who purchased additional tickets made available due to high demand, will go hungry tonight — they will just have to fill up on laughter.

But they will certainly leave stuffed to the brim. The production is witty and chock-full of laughs while keeping the audience  in suspense as scripted fantasy becomes real in Marlowe's house.

A clever original script, not short on monologues, promises danger and laughter lurking behind every corner. ****


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