Santa Clara Players opens its 2023 – 2024 season with the world premiere of the murder mystery spoof “Agatha Crusty and the Medieval Murders” by British playwright Derek Webb, playing Oct. 13 – Nov. 4.
“Having done the North American Premieres of two prior Crusty plays, it’s only fitting to do a World Premiere,” said SCP producer George Doeltz. “That’s mainly due, I think, to the fact that we asked first.” (A trial run took place last April in Wales, where Webb resides.)
In 2022, the Santa Clara Players opened its season with author Agatha Christie’s iconic murder mystery “The Mousetrap.”
Like Christie’s world, Webb’s world is one where dead bodies inexplicably pile up in the midst of a gathering of strangers in the pastoral English countryside. Webb’s lead character, Agatha Crusty (pronounced “Croosty”), is a British crime novelist and amateur sleuth.
In “Agatha Crusty and the Medieval Murders,” Crusty takes a weekend genealogy course, held in a handsome medieval country house. But she barely arrives when someone dies in suspicious circumstances.
As other bodies pile up, a cool Crusty is drawn to assist D.I. (Dismally Incompetent not Detective Inspector) Twigg, the local investigator.
“Agatha Crusty and the Medieval Murders,” directed by Santa Clara native Sara Hough, is the fourth Agatha Crusty production by SCP, and Hough has directed all but the first.
“They’re always a bit silly with some really wild characters, and this one is no different,” said Hough. “It’s full of puns and other wordplay, but it’s our incredible cast that really makes the show!
“They’re full of great ideas, and their characters are becoming funnier with every rehearsal,” continued Hough. “Our audience can expect a lot of laughs, a bit of mystery, and a really fun time!”
Pleasanton resident Bob Siegmann plays D.I. Twigg.
“Doing a comedy is always fun—when you work up a bit of business in rehearsal and then get that instant feedback from the audience,” said Siegmann, who has been challenged by the sheer number of lines he memorized.
“I haven’t had to memorize this many lines in nearly 20 years!” he said.
Fifty years ago with SCP, he performed in Christie’s “Ten Little Indians.” And in 1975, he was in “The Mousetrap.”
San Jose resident Lorie Goulart, raised in Santa Clara, plays Pearl.
“This is my fourth show with SCP and my first murder mystery play, and I’m very excited. I haven’t performed in the English RP accent in a while, so it’s been fun to dust it off,” said Goulart.
“This is a funny and cozy show. Everyone will have a grand time trying to figure out who’s done it,” continued Goulart
“Agatha Crusty and the Medieval Murders” is the fifth in Webb’s Agatha Crusty series. The first—”Agatha Crusty and the Village Hall Murders”—premiered in 2013. It has been performed over 600 times worldwide.
To book a seat at Santa Clara Players’ 71-seat theater in Hall Pavilion (behind Santa Clara’s Triton Museum of Art), at 1750 Don Ave. at Warburton Ave., visit www.scplayers.org.
“We have some very fun plays scheduled for this season!” said Doeltz.
“A Bad Year for Tomatoes” runs Feb. 23 – March 16, 2024, and “Fully Committed,” May 17 – June 2.
On the TheatreWorks stage in Mountain View, the drama “Mrs. Christie” runs Oct. 4 – 29. It is based on the true, mysterious disappearance of Agatha Christie for eleven days in 1926.