By Katie Dolgikh (Cappies Critic)
During the first four months of school, the grade twelve drama class was hard at work on their production of Kill Me, Deadly. Traditionally, the grade twelve production is an annual highlight for drama students, and this year was no different. Each member of the class contributed both onstage and behind the scenes to the success of the play.
Kill Me, Deadly is a film noir spoof. It all begins when private investigator Charlie Nickels takes on the very rich Lady Clairmont, who believes that someone wants to kill her, as a client. When she is unexpectedly murdered, Nickels begins a wild investigation, meeting all the archetypal characters of the genre, including the gangster boss, incompetent police officers, and the classic femme fatale.
Santino DiTeodoro carried much of the narrative as Charlie Nickels. His commanding stage presence and strong grasp of his character made him the backbone of the production. Transition scenes in the play consisted of Charlie Nickels driving his car, and were staged as voiceover, with Santino silently acting out his words on stage. He did an excellent job of using facial expression to express his character’s thoughts.
Annecy Spencer was outstanding as the “lady in red”, Mona Livingston. The character was seductive, brilliant, and perfectly mysterious—the epitome of the femme fatale. She spent her entire first scene facing away from the audience, a fantastic directorial decision that built on the mystery of her character. Annecy was able to act just as strongly facing away from the audience as facing them, an impressive feat in itself.
The supporting cast contributed a lot to the feel of the show with quirky and humorous performances, whether in recurring or featured roles. Lauren Burke was strong as Ida, Charlie Nickels’s smart and talented assistant, who ended up doing most of the investigating. Lauren’s consistent appearances gave the play structure, and she stayed in character very well even with the long periods in between her scenes. Nicole Shisko was convincing as Lady Clarimont’s daughter, Veronica, never ceasing to entertain with her very physical acting and strong facial expressions. Emily Mills, in the small but memorable role of the hobo queen, was refreshingly funny, portraying her character’s insanity with a charming innocence. She remained in character particularly well even when she was just in the background, always moving in a way that was appropriate but not distracting.
Some of the students had to play two roles, and did this well, differentiating between the characters flawlessly. Bronte McGillis was regal and haughty as Lady Clairmont, and then oblivious and clueless as a donut-eating cop. Patrick McCarty stood out first as Clive Clairmont, the nerdy, timid son of the estate, and later as Bugsy Siegel, a mob boss. Patrick’s commitment to his characters and use of body language and voice (especially as Clive,) contributed to the authenticity of the production.
Video was used effectively throughout the play to keep the production flowing and build upon its film influence. Sets were also well done. Lady Clairmont’s house in particular was quite intricate, emulating her rich and flamboyant lifestyle. What was also of note was the car used in transition scenes. The front was realistically painted, and a steering wheel was used effectively to create the illusion of driving.
Kill Me Deadly provided an evening of laughter and mystery thanks to the fantastic acting by the grade twelve’s drama class. Everyone would love to experience it all over again but, as Mona Livingston put it, “who has any time for that these days?”