Let’s face it, none of us likes to be left hanging. It’s natural to want to know how a story, once begun, ends.
Due to a habit of writing for serialization, and his sudden death, “The Mystery of Edwin Drood” was a bit of unfinished business for Mr. Charles Dickens.Fortunately, Rupert Holmes came along with a wonderfully theatrical solution in his rendition of “The Mystery of Edwin Drood,” in a revival at the Roundabout Theatre Company’s Studio 54 through this weekend. (Clsoing March 10th after a splendid and extended run.)
For the occasion of this production, the entire theater is turned into London’s Music Hall Royale at the turn of the century, presided over the master of ceremonies, The Chairman/Mr. William Cartwright (Jim Norton).
Holmes’ musical of “The Mystery of Edwin Drood” is set as a solid Victorian melodrama enveloped in a lively vaudeville. Since this is a play within a review, each cast member has two parts, as actor and character of rhe play within. The audience participates, all the way to “voting” on whodunnit and is incited to applause and mayhem from the beginning to the end.
There is a villain, John Jasper/Mr. Clive Paget (Will Chase) and the delicate ingenue, Rosa Bud/Miss Deirdre Peregrine (Betsy Wolfe) whom he pursues even though she is engaged to his nephew, Edwin Drood, played in the play within the vaudeville by Miss Alice Nutting, the company’s male impersonator (Stephanie J. Block.)
It is the Princess Puffer. the Music Hall’s doyenne, Miss Angela Prysock (Chita Rivera) who supplies John with the opiates that fuel is evil spirits.
The “The Mystery of Edwin Drood” is grand fun. William Ivey Long’s opulent costumes add to the playful tone set by Scott Ellis’s direction and the superb cast.
For more information about “The Mystery of Edwin Drood,” go to http://www.roundabouttheatre.org/