By Dylis Jones
Keeping up with the CanadaPLUS Club is proving to be a rewarding, experience for hundreds of expats, even if it sometimes calls for extra stamina, for hundreds of expats.
Last month the Club, which lists expats, from over 22 countries among its members, even some living at home, staged its first Murder Mystery Dinner Theatre.
The show, in the ballroom of the Magnolia Inn, in Casco Viejo, ran for three nights, and each performance, accompanied by a different menu and wine, was sold out well in advance. Many who followed the local custom of calling at the last minute, were disappointed,
The director, producer and cast were recruited from members of the Club, and for some it was a first time appearance in front of an audience, but all went well, and the audience joined in the fun of trying to solve the mystery.
The plot was set at the Chez Mort nightclub, with Gerry Roy who also directed the play, as the terrified owner under threat from a gangster. No need here for a false French accent, Roy is from Montreal and played the part to a T. Ray Fitzgerald as Big Suit Stu, looked and played the part with flair. His performance was particularly noteworthy as he was called in as a replacement only two weeks before opening night. His threatening knife wielding boydguard (Germain Courchesnet) looked the thuggish part, but in real life is an artist.
Clarizta Basabe, as Lady Lelu, was perfect in the role of the haughty famed jazz singer, and yes she could sing too. She got a nightly ovation after her performance as the slinky come-up and-see- me-sometime songster
Sweet Sue, the gangster's moll who didn't know a high note from a low and thought a quaver was something people did when her boy friend was around, got to sing because her boy friend had applied a little encouragement to the club's owner. She also brought the house down, and almost the ceiling, with her off key performance of Cole Porter's Night and Day. She got what her singing deserved, a fatal electric shock, accompanied by an electrifying scream from the pianist (Joyce Perrin). Chris Martin as the stage manager gave a polished performance and during the audience participation showed a quick wit with his answers to their accusations.
Paul Wylie, as Chief Inspector Constantine of the Crime Division, was the narrator of the plot to cub reporter, Smitty, played by 16 year old Tristan Stow who gave the final turn of the screw as he left the Inspector with something fresh to think about. Constantine, gave an extra humorous twist during the audience interrogations, by encouraging them to vote for the killer.
With only 19 days between the last Murder performance and Canadian Thanksgiving Day, October 8, it was a big challenge for the organizers to stage yet another successful full house event, but they did.Cesaratto, nearly 150 people flocked to the Mirimar Intercontinental to enjoy a gourmet feast. They heard the Canadian National Anthem sung in English and French by stars from Opera Panama, and a later ennjoyed a performance of Opera Arias. The evening ended with dancing to Beatles era music and prizes galore for a tombola, and a knowledge of Canada quiz.
So that’s it. Time for a rest for the organizers? Not so.
The next event, Welcome Back Snowbirds is scheduled for November 12, Welcome Back Snowbirds, the annual opportunity to renew acquaintances with those who have not yet made the full time move to Panama.
And it’s all a lead up to the December, Carols by Candlelight event, raising funds for charity. And for 2013, more surprises and more Murder Mystery. The energizer bunny must have joined the group.