I was attracted to a playbill that triggered my interest…a musical comedy based on a well-known Agatha Christie mystery plot, “Ten Little Indians”, or otherwise known as “And Then There Were None”. But this was not a Broadway theater offering such a show. It was a hometown volunteer community theater effort to bring a bit of fun and pleasure to the Bitterroot Valley. This writer became quite curious as to what was truly being offered.
Walking into a small but intimate theater of 99 seats and a stage not much larger than my own living room, I was immediately and pleasantly surprised by a set that gave as much professional appeal as any in cities much larger than “Stevi.” This alone put me in a mood of anticipation, with an immediate mind-set that this evening was going to be well worth my time, and possibly much more than the expense of the ticket price requested at the door.
I surely was not disappointed! Under the hand of director Erick M. Rasmussen, the cast of volunteers, whose talents stretched across a continuum from having attended Hollywood’s American Musical and Dramatic Academy to that of still participating in our local high school drama program, presented a well-done, cleverly blocked and choreographed, fast moving roller coaster ride of mysterious tension and comedic release. Elements from Keystone Kop days, vaudeville, “Murder She Wrote” and “Miss Marple”, old melodrama, hallway door routines and even some “Romeo and Juliet” were woven together to bring this English-type humorous exposition to almost a Hitchcock style twisted ending that had the audience, as well as this writer, very much involved from first curtain to last.
As to the musical part of the presentation… again, a wide spread of vocal qualities and levels of technique was evident. But under the core values of Stevensville Playhouse mission statement policies of mutual respect, education, and integrity, and training in the performing arts for community participation, the ensemble produced a fine balance and blend resulting in a final product that also brought enthusiastic applause.
This writer’s final conclusion is that the town of Stevensville has in its midst a very valuable asset that ought to be taken advantage of as often as possible. Of course, it may not be of San Francisco Opera or Broadway status, but its professionally managed values certainly deserve to have totally full houses with SRO every time the doors are open.