Live Theatre, Concerts & Events

Light-hearted thriller “Murder By The Book” coming to the Studio Theatre!

December 8, 9, 10, 16 & 17 at 7:30 pm & December 12 & 18 at 2:00 pm

Murder By the Book by:
Duncan Greenwood & Robert King

No one gets to know the characters in a play better then the actors who take on the role of portraying them. So I went right to the source for this article, which will introduce you to the Studio Theatre’s next exciting production, Murder By The Book, by Duncan Greenwood and Robert King.

What would cast members say about this inventive, light-hearted thriller in one sentence? Here’s a sampling of their responses.
“It’s a play about malevolent manipulation,” writes well known Perth actor Norm MacDonnell. As his character, Selwyn Piper, a successful author and book critic, Norm certainly can manipulate, moving the other players like chess pieces.

David Wright from Smiths Falls takes on the role of John Douglas, Selwyn’s publisher. David says “Murder By The Book is an exercise in deception”. His character tries his hand at deception, but finds the tables turning with dizzying speed as the plot thickens.

Meanwhile, Annie West, also from Smiths Falls, assumes the persona of Christine Scott, Selwyn’s secretary. She describes the play as “a twisty-turny game of Clue, brought to life”. Christine ends up snooping in Selwyn’s desk and gets an unpleasant surprise. Interestingly, the handsome neighbour in this play, Peter Fletcher, played by Ottawa actor Guy Newsham, had the same board game rendition of the play in mind, saying “Professor Plum in the library with the candlestick.” Now, anyone who remembers playing the classic Parker Brothers game of Clue knows that it is a fun and frustrating guessing game, which in this case perfectly reflects the play itself. Joanna McAuley Treffers, one of our wonderful Studio Theatre actors, plays Selwyn’s wife, Imogen Piper. Joanna describes Murder By The Book as “A particularly puzzling play, with people posturing and doing dirty deeds.” And believe me, her character knows all about dirty deeds!

Two other active “players” in any stage production are the director and stage manager, both of whom must have a vision of where the play is going and how it is to be perceived by audiences. Stage Manager Roberta Peets is wonderfully verbose in her play description, saying, with a twinkle in her eye, ” Murder By The Book is about a deft murder mystery author serving up a delicious blend of betrayal, collusion and intrigue, sprinkled with generous dashes of clever wit, making for a tasty feast which will feed your curiosity long after the last bite.”

Yup, that’s classic Roberta alright.

And as the director of Murder By The Book, and thrilled with this stellar team, I will give you, dear reader, my own one-sentence summary, which I admit reads a bit like a lead-in to a joke: “Agatha Christie and Oscar Wilde walk into a bar…” Brief and succinct, and yet a bit cryptic, this is the best description I can offer of a production that will give you plot and word plays at their finest. Trust me!

One final bit of fun and intrigue: Because Murder By The Book is all about, well, books and murder, we have invited the public libraries in Perth and Smiths Falls, as well as The Book Nook, The Book Worm, and Backbeat Books and Music in Perth, and Arlee’s Book Store in Smiths Falls to be a part of this wonderful show. Each establishment will feature the play’s poster, alongside a display of some of their favorite murder mystery books. There will also be ballots for you to fill out to win a pair of tickets to see Murder By The Book, where you will no doubt marvel at the twisted plot and nimble word play!

Get Tickets

Murder By The Book opens at the Studio Theatre on Thursday, December 8th for seven performances, Dec. 8, 9, 10, 16 & 17 at 7:30 pm, and Dec. 11 & 18 at 2 pm. Tickets are $22 (cash only) at the Book Nook, 60 Gore St. E, and $22 plus convenience fee at Shadowfax, 67 Foster St., (613-267-6817; and Tickets Please, in the Matheson House Museum Visitor Centre, 11 Gore St. E. (485-6434; both of which accept in-store, phone, online and credit card purchases. Tickets are $24 at the door, and $10 at the door for students with ID. Attend opening night and save $5!
Don’t forget to pick up tickets to Murder By The Book, and visit the local libraries and book stores listed above for a chance to win tickets to this delicious mystery. You’ll have a murderously good time…

Annie West and Guy Newsham rehearse a scene from Studio Theatre's Murder By the Book, opening December 8th. Photo by Bruce Raby

Annie West and Guy Newsham rehearse a scene from Studio Theatre’s Murder By the Book, opening December 8th. Photo by Bruce Raby