Murder mystery close to perfection

I've been to many local theatrical productions. I usually take my seat at a performance with an air of hopefulness about me, wondering at each show if I might be pleasantly surprised. Thus, I was completely unprepared for the high level of quality exhibited by the actors performing in the Glendale Centre Theatre's current run of Agatha Christie's "A Murder Is Announced."

The Glendale Centre Theatre added an extra touch of realism to a play that takes place entirely in one woman's living room. The acting seemed much more natural than the usual "stage left, stage right, fake background behind a set-dressed window." The pacing and flow of the movements were so enhanced by the staging that it was easy to find myself engrossed by the story itself, forgetting that it was a stage at all and not just an interaction unfolding before me.

With a cast of roughly a dozen, at a small theater, I'd be lucky to find one or two actors who really outclassed themselves in a performance. I would most likely cheat and write extensively on the virtues of that one actor, or those two actors, and call it a day. The cast of "A Murder is Announced" was so fantastic that I wish I could mention each actor.

I've never been to a small performance such as this and been so blown away by the entire ensemble. Stephanie Jones is absolutely captivating as Letitia Blacklock, the main protagonist and the character whose life is being threatened. Osa Danam is equally convincing as an old friend of Letitia's who is slowly growing senile.

But if I mention Stephanie Jones and Osa Danam, I simply have to talk about Patsy Ferguson, who is spot on as Agatha Christie's famous amateur sleuth, Miss Marple. Ferguson's performance could have easily ruined the final reveal, and thus the entire show, but she was perfect.

But now I have to mention Richard Malmos as well, who played brilliantly the small-town detective on the case, and Marcy Lynn Agreen, whose comedic timing in her role of the Hungarian maid, Mitzi, was stellar. Tosca Minotto was also wonderful, as was Patrick McMahon, as was Kate Landor, as was — you get the idea.

"A Murder Is Announced" is a fantastic show already, and to have such amazing actors playing in such a unique setting is a treat. The director, Diedra Celeste Miranda, even runs a raffle at intermission so that the audience can guess who they think the murderer is. The correct guesses are mixed together and drawn from a hat, and the winner receives dinner for four and tickets to a future show of their choice.

If you enjoy theater, mysteries, British humor, brick-faced buildings, raffles, quality acting, candy, or any or all of the above, do yourself a favor and make it a point to see this play.

BRIAN MCGACKIN is an alumnus of USC's graduate creative writing program, where he focused on poetry and literary critical analysis.


What: "A Murder Is Announced" by Agatha Christie

When: 8 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday until Nov. 20

Where: Glendale Centre Theatre, 324 N. Orange St.

Cost: Tickets are $21 to $23, and discounted rates are available for groups of 20 or more.

Contact: (818) 244-8481 or visit

Copyright © 2019, Glendale News-Press
EDITION: California | U.S. & World