AACT STAGES CHRISTIE MYSTERY:
The Michigan Daily-Friday, Ocober 27, 1978-Page,7.
w on thrills
By DIANE HAITHMAN
Ann Arbor Civic Theatre kept a not-
quite full house not-quite on the edge of
their chairs with the opening
performance of The Unexpected Guest,
an intricate Agatha Christie whodunit
in which everyone's fingerprints end up
on 'the gun. Performed against a
splendid set and with impressive
technical effects such as silhouette
lighting and dry-ice fog, the production
represented a mixture of top-notch and
mediocre performances, all of which
averaged out to an enjoyable evening.
The situation has the appropriate hint
of the bizarre. Richard Warsick, ex big-
game hunter, crippled by an
unfortunate brush with a "big cat,"
now sits alone late at night in his
wheelchair, aiming a pistol sadistically
at innocent rabbits and the neighbors'
pets through the murky gray fog of
South Wales. Vile Richard Warwick,
who threatens his retarded half-brother
with institutionalization, mistreats his
lovely wife, and is rotten to his mother.
Mean Richard Warwick, who once ran
over an innocent child while drunk at
the wheel of his car. Unbearable
Richard Warwick-whom everyone
wishes were dead-is found dead in his
library by an unexpected guest with car
trouble who wanders in from the
November night. The suspects:
* LAURA Warwick, Richard's wife,
played by Deborah Kay Mueller.
Properly distraught and walking about
disarmingly in spike heels, Mueller's
strident voice and intermittent loss-of
British accent made little difference in
light of the scripted necessity for a
stereotypical hand-wringer-and not
" Mrs. Warwick, Richard's mother,
played by Carol Katz. Katz, as the
elderly and moribund Mrs. Warwick,
shook her cane with the unfortunate
youthful vigor that so often occurs in
the amateur portrayal of the senior
citizen. However, effective costuming
and the enthusiasm of her
somewhat for the generation gap within
" Julian Farrar, Laura's lover,
played by Robert J. Starring. The
Lorne Greene of Wales appears mid-
action, with a distinguished red cravat
and a decidedly suspect air. Although
one waited uneasily for the appearance
of his horse, Mr. Starring's strong voice
and stage presence added needed life
and professionalism to the production.
" JAN WARWICK, Richard's half-
brother, played by Phillip Potter.
Young Potter, a high school senior,
portrays a nineteen-year-old
retardate-strangely wise, tautly
wired, and inordinately fond of guns.
His is the most sensitive performance
of the evening, as he oscillates between
childish petulance and an uncanny
maturity, timidity and sadism. The
arresting subtlety of technique is in
keeping with Jan's own description of
himself: "Nobody knows what I'm like!
I'm dangerous . .. -
Other less likely characters might be
caught with blood on their hands: Perry
Mallette as Angell, the sly,
blackmailing manservant ("Nasty
fellow, that Angell"); of Miss Bennett
(Margie Cohen), a faithful but
annoyingly prim housekeeper in the
Warwick home. And, amid the sea of
tepid suspense, plot thickenings, and
accents drifting somewhere between
the British Isles and East Lansing,
wander two confused upholders of the
law: Peter Greenquist, as the nattily
dressed but tediously one-dimensional
Inspector Thomas; and the endearing
poet, Sergeant Cadwallader. Bob
James plays Cadwallader with a sharp
sense of comic timing. (Upon being shot
in the hand in the second act, however,
he develops a decided limp. A
medically unsound bit of artistry.)
But, until the end, the audience remains
in the anticipatory dark.
IN CHARACTERISTIC Christie
style, in the last fifteen minutes we find
out whodunit-and then we find out who
really dunit. There follows a brief,
moment during which the audience
mutter, "I knew it all along," ample
proof that they didn't, and therefore:
must have gotten caught up in the show.
Although performance quality,
varied, it mattered little in a murder.,
mystery where the plot takes center:
stage. Had there been a little more
emphasis on characterization,
however, this "not quite" production
might well have been outstanding.
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Maybelle Carter mourned
Country singer Johnny Cash, third from left, and his wife, June Carter Cash,
second from left, arrive at the Woodlawn Cemetery Thursday for the burial of
Mrs. Cash's mother, Maybelle Carter, a country music pioneer.
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U U _______
THE DETROIT INSTITUTE OF ARTS PRESENTS A TWO-DAY PUBLIC SYMPOSIUM
ON THE WORK AND LASTING INFLUENCE OF THREE GREAT MEXICAN MURALISTS
SYMPOSIUM: SESSION I
THE WORK OF OROZCO, RIVERA AND SIQUEIROS
IN THE UNITED STATES Laurance Hurlburt, Ph.D.
THE IMPACT OF OROZCO, RIVERA AND
SIQUEIROS ON THE 1930's NEW DEAL MURAL
PROJECTS Francis V. O'Connor, author
SYMPOSIUM: SESSION II
THE SIQUEIROS EXPERIMENTAL WORKSHOP:
NEW YORK, 1936 Harold Lehman, artist
THE IMPACT OF OROZCO, RIVERA AND
SEQUEIROS ON POST WORLD WAR II MEXICAN
"OROZCO MURALS" explores the work and life of the-
Mexican muralist Jose Clemente Orozco, with a description of
his murals at the Baker Library, Dartmouth College.
"AMERICA TROPICAL" examines the struggle surrounding
the mural America Tropical, painted by David Alfaro Siqueiros
in Los Angeles in 1932, including recent restoration attempts
following its white washing soon after completion.
"THE AGE OF STEEL" studies the Detroit Industry frescoes
by Rivera at the Detroit Institute of Arts.
"THE ROUGE: THE IMAGE OF INDUSTRY IN THE
ART OF DIEGO RIVERA"
through November 5
Rivera Court, The Detroit Institute of Arts
"PERU'S GOLDEN TREASURES"
October 5-December 10
Ford Wing-Ground Floor, The Detroit Institute of Arts
"MEXICO-ITS CULTURE AND CONTRIBUTIONS"
October 2-December 3
Hall of Nations, The International Institute
111 E. Kirby, Detroit
to the symposium and films is free but reservations are re-
quired. Please fill out and mail attached reservation form or
call the Department of Education, The Detroit Institute of
SYMPOSIUM RESERVATION FORM
Please reserve _ seats under the following name:
SI/We will attend all sessions and films.
I/We will attend the following sessions and/or films:
November 4, Saturday
10:00am Symposium: Session I
1:00pm Symposium: Session II
MNvember . ~Sundav