‘The Gemini Killer’ debuts in Bayside

| ckasden@queenscourier.com |

It’s a cold, windy night in early spring. The torrential rain on dreary streets sets the sinister mood. Director/playwright Tom Williams mingles with the crowd. Before the evening is over, “The Gemini Killer” will strike again. And again!

Williams’ latest work, interpreted by Theatre Time Productions, combines some tried-and-true murder mystery themes with a few new twists. The audience can only take the bait. Numerous false leads keep us guessing. The story itself progresses slowly, calculatingly, with the pace increasing until the expected crescendo is reached. The conclusion? It may well be shocking!

Producers Judy and Kevin C. Vincent offer another well-performed melodrama. This time, Kevin participates as Detective Thomas James. His sense of irony, especially while grilling witnesses, offers a good model for the troupe’s next law enforcement persona.

As the play begins, wealthy but world-weary novelist Stewart Marcus (Frank Freeman) works on his laptop. He has invited some very special guests to his estate. Soon they will receive life-changing information — but at a heavy price. Marcus unswervingly confides all of this to his very serious and very loyal assistant, Hammond (Ronald B. Hellman). But will Hammond remain a loyal confidant despite financial temptations?

Throughout the performance, Freeman proves to be extremely flexible. His character profoundly changes from scene to scene. Hellman, a community theatre fixture for decades, returns to the stage after years behind the scenes.

Enter three, or is it four suspects? First, there’s well-dressed George Parker (Al Carbuto). He is stern yet vulnerable. Next we meet self-assured schoolteacher Agatha Pastel (Suzanne Haehnel). She is followed by unemployed and very nervous Jacob Hakim (Paul Robilotto). Oh, there’s one more late arrival. The requisite, leggy redhead Lillith Scelus (Victoria Prava). All four are convincing as possible victims. Or are they suspects?

Of course, there’s a blackout on stage. When the lights return, someone has been murdered! But who? And why? The cast works hard to develop an undercurrent of both wit and mischief. By the play’s conclusion, we are willingly outsmarted by the characters and events onstage. Bravo!

The troupe performs at 54-02 217 Street (The Colonial Church of Bayside). For this and future productions call 347-358-8102 or surf to www.TheatreTime.org.

As always, save me a seat on the aisle.