Murder and comedy mingle on Mt. Tabor stage

ALL IN A DAYS LAUGH- Edward Bennett (Barrie Atkinson) and Sorel Bennett (Penny Kitchen) toast to something devious during a dress rehearsal of Death by Design: A Comedy with Song and Murder at Mount Tabor Playhouse. (Sarah Williams/Gazette File Photo)




A musical comedy written by New York City-based playwright Rob Urbinati has found its way to the Mount Tabor Playhouse beginning May 18th.

Directed and produced by Philip Knox, Death by Design: A Comedy with Song and Murder boasts a colourful assortment of characters that will titillate and fill you with belly-aching laughter.

The performance marks the last show of the season for Prince Edward County Community Theatre.

The play is described as a ‘mash-up’; an uncanny mix of murder mystery and comedy, being born of Urbanati’s love of witty Noel Coward plays and the mysterious plot lines found in Agatha Christie novels.

Penny Kitchen stars Sorel Bennet in the Prince Edward Community Theatre’s as Death by Design: A Comedy with Song and Murder at Mount Tabor Playhouse in Milford over the next two weekends. (Sarah Williams/Gazette Staff)

Set in a manor in the English Countryside, the plot revolves around Edward Bennett, a blasé world-weary playwright and his wife, Sorel Bennett, who have escaped to the countryside with their chauffer, Jack, after the opening night of Bennett’s most recent play went awry. Throughout the play, a variety of unexpected and eccentric characters arrive at the manor.

Tragedy strikes when one of the guests is murdered and the Bennett’s feisty maid, with a macabre interest in homicide, decides to try and solve the crime.

The backdrop is as eclectic as the roles in this play, with everything working together seamlessly to portray the multifaceted plot line of Death by Design.

For Director Philip Knox, who loves comedy, the play was an easy choice for the Mt. Tabour stage. This will be his first time directing in Prince Edward County.

“I was able to get a very talented group. Our cast goes from people who have a lot of experience and people for who this is their first play,” said Knox.

Before their dress rehearsal began Thursday evening the cast congregated in their costumes of feathers, sequins and well tailored suits.

As the chatter and laughter of cast members rose above the stage of Mt Tabor the director explained the process was such to ensure the actors were enjoying themselves.

“We’re trying to do it so that they (the actors) have fun. People who get involved in theatre really enjoy theatre. It’s a passion. And we’re trying to create an opportunity for them to have fun while entertaining people,” Knox added.

The cast struck their opening act pose, forming a tableau as the lights dimmed.

Notably, Edward Bennett, (Barrie Atkinson) was hovering near the faux bar to the side of the stage while Sorel Bennett (Penny Kitchen) lounged gracefully on the settee,

Bridgit the maid (Bonnie Allen) pretended to dust in the background, and the Bennett’s chauffeur (Pat Larkin) presided over the settee.

There is a creative fabric in Prince Edward County that’s especially evident when a cast of volunteers rehearses in Mt. Tabor-a church that was falling into disrepair before community members came up with the idea to turn it into a theatre.

“We’re very fortunate to have singers and painters and songwriters and play writers and actors in Prince Edward County,”  Knox told the Gazette,

The show dates are: May 18,19, 24, 25, and 26, with shows on the 19th and 26th being at 2:00 p.m., while the rest are at 7:30 p.m.

Tickets are $17 in advance through phone, email or ticket office, or they are $20 at the door. Information directly related to this can be found through the Prince Edward County Community Theatre website, as seen here: