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An evening of mystery, romance, suspense and fundraising

Arts and EntertainmentAn evening of mystery, romance, suspense and fundraising

Playful Fox Productions (PFP) brought the audience an evening of twists and turns during its performance of “Dial ‘M’ for Murder” at the Paris Presbyterian Church on Saturday, February 4, 2023.

Frederick Knott’s mid-century melodrama, “Dial ‘M’ for Murder” is a story about romance, blackmail and betrayal. The mystery follows an ex-tennis star who plots to kill his wealthy wife for her family fortune.

Before starting the final performance Malakai Fox, Director of the show, lead character and co-owner of PFP, took to the stage to thank the audience for trekking out into the cold weather and explained the reasoning behind the show, its silent auction and raffle.

Steven B. Andrews and Malakai Fox act out a tense scene during the final performance of “Dial ‘M’ for Murder” on Saturday, February 4, 2023.

Long-time members of Brant’s theatre community, Keith and Meghan Chambers (née Graham) discovered their 13-year-old son was living with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia last October, and the PFP owners had the urge to help the best way they know how – putting on a fundraiser show that could help with extra expenses.

“When Marissa and I decided to do the show, we knew we had to do something because quite frankly, there isn’t a family in this area who has given themselves to community theatre more than the Chambers and the Grahams,” said Fox. “Meghan and her family members combined, have been involved in theatre for the last 54 years. We knew we had to do something, and this show is a result of a small group of people with the uncanny ability to lead with love and dedication to our cast, crew and the pillars of our community.”

Richard V. Ouellette, Marissa Wilson-Fox, and Malakai Fox act out a dramatic scene during the final performance of “Dial ‘M’ for Murder” on Saturday, February 4, 2023.

The performance opened with Margot Wendice, portrayed by Marissa Wilson-Fox, and her lover Max Halliday, (Rob Curwain), as they reminisce and catch up since their last rendezvous – setting up the backstory for a plot filled with twists and turns.

It wasn’t long before the audience met ex-tennis star and Margot’s husband, Tony Wendice (Malakai Fox), and Capt. Lesgate (Steven B. Andrews). The two sly characters played off each other with great chemistry as they moved the story along with perfectly timed lines, facial expressions and body language.

Cast members stand in front of the stage during a trial scene in the final performance of “Dial ‘M’ for Murder” on Saturday, February 4, 2023.

Chaos ensues and after intermission, Insp. Hubbard (Richard V. Ouellette) joins the stage as the character questions, condemns and solves the mystery at hand – adding an extra layer for the audience who had insight to a key component of the show.

Viewers were kept engaged as seemingly light-hearted moments and cleverly timed music were weaved in between the show’s trials and tribulations.

Malakai Fox as Tony Wendice dances through the door during the final performance of “Dial ‘M’ for Murder” on Saturday, February 4, 2023.

The cast made use of its performance space by using the entire stage, accessibility ramps, stairs and the area in front of the church pews. The smart use of space gave the audience the feeling of peering into the window as they watched a private story unravel in real time, picking up on small details and clues that kept up the suspense until the very end.

PFP is thankful to its regulars, as well as the new audience members who came out to support the show and the Chambers family.

“The monies from the raffle, the silent auction and a portion of the ticket sales will go directly towards the family,” said Wilson-Fox. “It’s hard to say how much we have raised yet, but we are going to cover our costs and the rest will go to them. It will be nice to give some help and support to the family – they really are the best and it’s been hard for them.”

Cast members Richard V. Ouellette, and Rob Curwain got a laugh for a tense moment during the final performance of “Dial ‘M’ for Murder” on Saturday, February 4, 2023.

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