August has been a killer month for the Queen of Crime. She took main feature in Audiofile Magazine with their epic feature on the audio legacy of Agatha Christie, and no sooner did I finish reading the mag then did I hear that four — count ’em four — of her plays were being produced in live performance at the International Mystery Writers’ Festival in Owensboro, Kentucky.
Those shows aired last week (August 15) on WNIN, and wow, what a doozy it was.
It kicked off with the previously unpublished “Butter in a Lordly Dish,” a tale of sweet revenge of Biblical scope, and easily my favorite play of the batch (and, unsurprisingly, the darkest). The show continued with “Three Blind Mice,” a tale of deception and murder that inspired the long-running theater production “The Mousetrap,” then “Personal Call,” of a wife ready to honeymoon with a husband who is not all that he seems, and finally concludes with “Yellow Iris,” an enchanting Hercule Poirot tale set in a London night club.
All the tales were excellent, in no short part due to the exceedingly talented cast and crew, with such names as Phil Proctor, Gary Sandy, and Orson Ossman along with performers from across the country. Melinda Peterson gets special recognition for her marvelous portrayal of Christie herself – who was used as the narrator/MC of the evening – a delightful way to gain insights about the writer and to give continuity to the stories. Sound effects were by master Tony Brewer and Preston Ossman.
David Ossman directed the show, which again makes it no surprise that the performance was so exceedingly awesome. Finally, no short praise goes to Zev Buffman and Judith Walcutt for producing the show.
It’s not clear when a CD or digital version of this tale will be out, but keep checking out the International Mystery Writers’ Festival website. Also, WNIN also ran a summer mystery audio drama series, and you can hear several pieces from the previous years’ festival online: http://www.wnin.org/radio/summer-mystery-series.html.
This was the third year of the mystery writers festival, and it seems like they just keep upping the ante. Seeing such an audio drama emphasis at a non-audio specific conference is extremely exciting, and leads me to start researching fares to Kentucky for next summer…