Intrigue, Laughter, and Elegance:

The Roustabouts Theatre Premiered 'The Savoyard Murders' with Style  

A Blog View by Alejandra Enciso-Dardashti

"The Savoyard Murders" cast. Photo by Ken Jaques.
Almost a year and change ago, Roustabouts gifted San Diego with the West Coast premiere of Iron. For 2023, the company did a 180 with a comedy-mystery production. 

"The Savoyard Murders," written by Omri Schein and co-directed by Phil Johnson, begins in a captivating Victorian apartment where Tiberius Spriggs (Phil Johnson) is hosting a party with various personalities from the theatre scene like actors, directors, and singers, to help solve a murder. The activity scales with a series of twists that are as witty as they are funny. 

Yi-Chien Lee delivers another great set design with white marble and depth that uses the space in its entirety creating a wonderful frame for the pieces of the puzzle to land, along with Jennifer Brawn Gittings' costume design that was a visual feast in vibrant bursts of red anchored in velvet, taffeta, and satin.

Taylor Henderson and Durwood Murray - photo by Ken Jacques

The play's cast, led by the multi-talented Phil Johnson, gathered some of the best comedic actors like Daren Scott, David McBean, and Wendy Waddell who did not disappoint and delivered silliness and puns with good comedic timing. It was also good to see Eliott Goretsky, Taylor Henderson, and Durwood Murray in a comedic light, giving the audience an opportunity to experience their other histrionic abilities. Personally, as well as Brawn Gittin's costume design, I appreciated Peter Herman's hair and wig design accompanied by the creative decision regarding Rowena Rawlings's wig that reminded me of A Midsummer Night's Dream and, since Rowena, incarnated by Taylor Henderson, is one of the best thespians to deliver The Bard's words, I considered that to be a nice homage. 

Michelle Miles's lighting design skillfully creates an atmosphere of intrigue and mystery. Her use of lighting effects added flare to the twists and turns of the plot, heightening suspense and engaging the audience's senses. Paul Durso's sound design played a crucial role in unraveling the layers of the mystery. The perfectly timed audio messages delivered clues that propelled the narrative forward. 

"The Savoyard Murders" successfully combines the thrill of a murder mystery with intelligent humor. Omri Schein creatively paired well with Johnson, as their vision resulted in a production that kept audiences engaged as the plot thickened and the clues unraveled. This is a light comedy that will even prompt conversations during intermission to compare notes on who did it or didn't.

Currently playing at Scripps Ranch Theatre until September 30th. For more information on performance times please click HERE

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