a review by Larkin


A few years ago the Putnam County Playhouse produced a Peter Colley play titled I'll Be Back Before Midnight. It was a scary proposition, with most of the cast dying in the end. It was scary and frightening. Now comes a second Colley play, Murder in the Mirror or Mark of Cain. The script is not as well done, but it was more amusing than Midnight.

Shelly McFadden, who played the lead in Midnight, makes her directorial debut in Cain and she does a good job.

Her lead is Keith Bodnarick, who has a monopoly on playing bad guys on the Putnam County Playhouse stage. He is Sean and Michael O'Neil, who are two twins as different as they can be. Sean is normal, Michael is a psychopathic killer. The script keeps you guessing as to which one is the normal one much of the time, and Bodnarick plays it for what it’s worth.

Lori Briones is Sean’s wife Dale, who loves him incredibly. In the second act, she has the brothers mixed up as well until near the end, when she finds out the truth, we think. With Colley and Bodnarick, you never can be sure.

The neighbors are Otto Sorenson and his wife Molly, played by Brad Williamson and Katie Wallace. Otto is not too bright and adding in his paranoia, he is the voice of unreason. On the other hand, Molly is quite bright, but she is not exactly the Donna Reed type of housewife - in fact she may have shared a romance with one of the twins..

Karen Temple plays Dr. Eugenia Clifford, a psychiatrist who is twin Michael's longtime doctor. She is the most normal of them all. She is working on a book about the case - a murder was involved earlier on in the boys’ lives. Her motives are strictly mercenary, but exactly how far will she go to get a good ending to her book?

Sean and Dale come to a house on the lake. Sean wants to sell the joint, which he and Michael got a few years back. In the middle of the first act Michael escapes from a nearby (very convenient Mr. Colley) mental institution, where he was sent after killing Sean's former girlfriend.

Things get all screwed up. Michael takes Sean’s place for a while, Molly tries to seduce Sean and Michael, and Dale runs around confused and screaming a lot. Otto tries to find Michael to kill him.

I hesitate to go too much into the details of the plot, but I will ruin it for you. Two people die and everyone comes out alive. How could that be possible? Or is it? Or do they?

Tony Canaday has a small part at the end of the play which is pretty gory and makes the ending as good as it is.

Linda Gjesvold does her usually fine job with the set. Meghan McClaine is the assistant director and Bryan Schroeder is the technical director. Lights are run by Brittany Titus and the sound is run by Schoeder and Kristen Burger.

The crew is made up of Canaday, Tiarra Phillps and Alexander Briones.

The production consultant is Ric McFadden. The music consultant is Jack Randall Earles. The popcorn is by a different person every night, and director McFadden gives an amusing curtain speech.

The show is sponsored by Rossok & Co. Insurance.

The sound cues are sometimes very long and the voice cues are a bit slow, but the show comes off well.  It runs slightly over two hours with the intermission. You will always remember Bodnarick's laugh at the end of the show. You won't have an easy time sleeping that night.