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Elden Street Players Premiere 'Accomplice'

Whodunit Opens Friday

>A few years ago, Todd C. Huse, president of the Elden Street Players, saw Rupert Holmes' Broadway production "Solitary Confinement" and wanted to do the play as a one act. When he inquired about the availability of the work, surprisingly it was Holmes, more commonly known as the writer of "Escape (The Pina Colada Song)," and the play "The Mystery of Edwin Drood," who responded and not only gave his blessing, but offered up another one of his plays, "Accomplice."

The Elden Street Players were set to stage "Accomplice," a whodunit in a similar vein as "Deathtrap" and "Sleuth," in 1998, but the play was put on hold in favor of staging The Who's "Tommy."

So after five years, the Players, with Huse directing, are finally bringing the play to life this Friday, Oct. 24 and continuing the run weekends through Nov. 15.

"It's a comedy thriller with some sex farce to it. There are two couples and twists and turns," said Huse, a resident of Centreville. "Nobody can guess the ending. It has been on Broadway, but has never been done in this area. It's a ton of fun for the audience."

IN ORDER to protect the ending, all Huse will say about the play is that it is set in 1970s rural England. There is a cast of four, with two understudies, who because of scheduling conflicts will perform in some of the shows.

Huse also cautions that while it is a comedy, the play is for adults and contains some brief nudity. He describes the language as "not bad."

For Kaiti Parish of Reston, the stage manager, the selling point was being close to home, she said. Parish had never actually heard of the play until the Huses asked her to help with the production. The play has since grown on her.

"I think it will be good. It was confusing at first, but definitely by the end, the audience will understand," Parish said. "I hope the audience will go away thinking something and enjoying the experience."

Staging a production set in a 1970s English mill house has been a challenge for Hilary Huse, the producer and wife of the director.

"Everybody has their own idea of what the '70s were like — the American late '70s," Hilary Huse said. "It's been difficult because the people are wealthy, it's the early '70s and it's a mill house. [Designing the set] all started with the mill house."

This is Hilary Huse's fourth production for the Players and she predicts an evening of fun for theatergoers.

"It's not earth shattering. It will be entertaining. The audience will want to solve the mystery," Hilary Huse said. "It's nothing but pure entertainment."

"Accomplice" will open Friday, Oct. 24, beginning at 8 p.m., at the Industrial Strength Theatre. There will be a champagne reception following the performance.