Valhalla Players solve Red House Mystery


Kyle Bender

Antony Gillingh (senior Jacob Krieger) and Ruth Norris (senior Lillybeth Held) pause as they anticipate upcoming news.

This week, the Little Theater was left shrouded by in mystery by the production of “The Red House Mystery,” directed by Gretchen Stewart. The play, while written by A.A. Milne, the author of Winnie the Pooh, had darker undertones and fit with the spooky time of year.

Set in the rural outskirts of London at the supposedly haunted Red House Mansion, a party is hosted by Mark Ablett, played by senior Simon Jones. It’s all fun and tennis games until one of the guests is mysteriously (and quite dramatically) murdered and another goes missing. Afterwards, the rest of the partygoers try to discover the culprit and the whereabouts of the missing guest.

Like any good mystery, the play includes plenty of twists and turns, drawing the morals of the guests into question. Moments of captivating tension and intriguing character dynamics balanced with Downton Abbey-like drama makes it a truly mesmerizing watch.

The character portrayals throughout this play were uniquely distinguished among each of the actors. The facial expressions were deliberate and well-timed, illustrating the deeply melancholy attitudes of the characters. This allowed the actors to make the characters their own without relying on the script. The performances of nosy Mrs. John Norbury, played by senior Katie Orr, and cunning Ms. Norris, by senior Lillybeth Held, were especially noteworthy — they played their roles with a consistent seriousness, making the question of “whodunit” more elusive.

While there was only one set in the show, it added to the intrigue of the production. It allowed the audience to let their imaginations run wild, as some of the most important events take place off stage. The use of light changed the mood of various scenes rather than relying on different sets, adding to the intensity of suspenseful moments and fully immersing the audience.

Despite the tragic sequence of events, there was time to reveal the backgrounds of minor characters. They were portrayed with heart, enriching the mystery with unrequited love. Everyone in the play is undeniably important to the show, bringing a deep emotional aspect that made this murder mystery somewhat wholesome amidst the sinister circumstances.