Review: The Detective’s Wife (Writers’ Theatre)

| June 3, 2011 | 2 Comments

Now extended through August 14th!

A modern-day Agatha Christie

Barbara Robertson as Alice Conroy in Writers' Theatre's "The Detective's Wife", by Keith Huff and directed by Gary Griffin

Writers’ Theatre presents
The Detective’s Wife
Written by Keith Huff
Directed by Gary Griffin 
at Books on Vernon, 664 Vernon, Glencoe (map)
thru July 31 August 14  |  tickets: $60  |  more info

Reviewed by Katy Walsh

A widow is silenced by her husband’s murder.  She isn’t so much an unwilling participant in a hush-up, but more like, the tragic circumstances have rendered her speechless.  She has lost her voice!  As she starts poking around for answers to solve the mystery, her kids start to believe that she has lost her mind too. Writers’ Theatre presents the world premiere of The Detective’s Wife. A police officer reopens a 1988 case for investigation.  He’s fatally shot. An avid mystery reader, his wife is determined to find his killer.  Agnes has devoured enough sleuth novels to proudly wear a badge of courage.  She starts snooping around the police station, computer files and homicide scene.  Her dead husband speaks to her with cryptic clues. She is obsessed! Her son, daughter, and doctor all prescribe a little rest and lots of medication.  Her compliance blurs the lines of fiction and biographical. The Detective’s Wife entertains with a thrilling zest to crack the case of the framer’s Barbara Robertson as Alice Conroy in Writers' Theatre's "The Detective's Wife", by Keith Huff and directed by Gary Griffinhusband.

Playwright Keith Huff pings a charming new-fashion whodunit.  Huff uses technology and antidepressants to modernize a classic murder mystery.  The captivating story is told as a reflected monologue. Huff’s narration cleverly intermingles the career choices of a detective and a framer to add another dimension of perspective.  Under the masterful direction of Gary Griffin, Barbara Robertson is the engaging storyteller.  Robertson connects with the audience on a personal and profound level. She tells it like it is in a sometimes playful, sometimes disturbing, always sincere manner.  Robertson transfixes the audience with an intimacy usually reserved for a close group of friends.  She shares her problems:  the kids, husband’s murder, new boyfriend, sex, drugs – all with a delightful frankness.  She IS a dynamic one woman show and this is her show!

For a Writers’ Theatre’s show, housed at Books on Vernon, where the only character is an avid reader, Kevin Depinet has created the perfect oasis.  Thousands of books are stacked, suspended and stockpiled.  Hardback and paperback page-turners visualize an old-fashion librarian love story!  The dated materials contrast nicely with visual projections by Mike Tutaj.  The imagery results in tradition meets contemporary. It’s a botoxed Agatha Christie!

The Huff-Griffin-Robertson trio thrills. The whirlwind of widow’s musing compels the audience into the intrigue. The evidence mounts. The suspense escalates. The novel actualizes. It’s spellbinding. Without spoiling any plot twists, my only pause was some convolution in the relation of the 1988 incident to the present day. If this was indeed a murder by the book, I would have flipped back to examine the passage for clarity. Nevertheless, The Detective’s Wife reads like a bestseller-in-the-making.

Rating: ★★★

Barbara Robertson as Alice Conroy in Writers' Theatre's "The Detective's Wife", by Keith Huff and directed by Gary Griffin

The Detective’s Wife continues through July 31st August 14th, with performances Tuesdays and Wednesdays at 7:30pm, Thursdays and Fridays at 8pm, Saturdays at 4pm and 8pm and Sundays at 2pm and 6pm.  Tickets are $60, and can be purchased at www.writerstheatre.org. Running time: One hour forty-five minutes, which includes a ten-minute intermission.

All photos by Liz Lauren


Artists

cast

Barbara Robertson

behind the scenes

Keith Huff (playwright); Gary Griffin (director); Heather Gilbert (lighting); Rob Milburn, Michael Bodeen (sound design); Kevin Depinet (set design); Mike Tutaj (projections); Janice Pytel (costumes); Rebecca Pechter (stage manager); Liz Lauren (photos)

Barbara Robertson as Alice Conroy in Writers' Theatre's "The Detective's Wife", by Keith Huff and directed by Gary Griffin

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Category: 2011 Reviews, Katy Walsh, Now Playing, Writers' Theatre

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  1. Live theater makes me want to dance!-Exactly. Incomparable experience!

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