ACCOMPLICE (Isis): A Comic Twist on the British Whodunit

Mark Knight, Rob Hargraves, Kirsten Quinn, and Renee Richman-Weisband. Photo credit: Evan Rosen.

The nature of Rupert Holmes’s ACCOMPLICE—a tongue-in-cheek thriller/sex farce/self- referencing spoof of the theater—is to surprise the audience with completely unexpected twists and turns in each scene of its two acts. Consequently, it’s virtually impossible to discuss the play without including spoilers, so suffice it to say that Isis Productions’ current staging and four-person ensemble will keep you wondering what’s going on, who’s who, and where are we? In keeping with Holmes’s witty script, nothing and no one are what they appear to be, right up to its preposterous conclusion.

Among the highlights of Isis’s show, which puts the emphasis on humor over suspense, are Mark Knight’s hilarious recounting of letters dictated to his character’s secretary; Kirsten Quinn’s pre-scene warm-up (which had theater professionals in the opening-night audience in stitches) and horrendous delivery of lines in her role as a bad actress (no easy feat for an actress as good as Quinn); and Renee Richman-Weisband’s shockingly inappropriate deadpan pronouncement, “I think I’ll sing a song”–all done with commendable comedic flair.

Aside from some amusing debates over gratuitous nudity and unconvincing plot points, ACCOMPLICE offers no weighty themes, no moralizing messages, no thought-provoking issues, just pure entertainment in a silly spoof of the traditional murder mystery, in the award-winning playwright’s attempt to outsmart the audience. Will you be fooled? [Walnut Street Theatre Studio 5, 825 Walnut St.] March 6-30, 2014; www.isisperforms.com or www.isis.ticketleap.com.

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About the author

Debra Miller

Debra holds a PhD in Art History from the University of Delaware and teaches at Rowan University, Glassboro, NJ. She is a judge for the Barrymore Awards for Excellence in Theatre, Philadelphia Arts and Culture Correspondent for Central Voice, and has served as a Commonwealth Speaker for the Pennsylvania Humanities Council and President of the Board of Directors of Da Vinci Art Alliance. Her publications include articles, books, and catalogues on Renaissance, Baroque, American, Pre-Columbian, and Contemporary Art, and feature articles on the Philadelphia theater scene.