Catch Me If You Can Review - Puzzles Within Riddles Wrapped in an Enigma

A comedy/mystery by Jack Weinstock and Willie Gilbert - based on the play by Robert Thomas - CATCH ME IF YOU CAN is the perfect whodunit. Wry, witty, confusing, confounding, funny, and surprising, this is a play which will grip both mystery buffs and comedy addicts. Like most comic mysteries, don’t expect any profound discoveries about life. Just sit back and enjoy the twists and turns of a very good thriller.

 

Brian Middleton and J.C. Wendel - Photo by Tim Dietlein

Married only two weeks and still on his honeymoon, Daniel Corbin (Brian Middleton) discovers that his bride Elizabeth is missing - and the police don’t seem to be very interested in locating her. Inspector Levine (Richard Large) has bigger fish to fry when a priceless necklace goes missing in his little town in the Catskills. Where can the elusive Elizabeth be? Has she been kidnapped - or worse? There doesn’t seem to be a ransom demand - perhaps because neither spouse is even close to wealthy. Other than an insurance policy, money doesn’t seem to be a motive for her disappearance. But wait! A letter for the missing bride just arrived in the mail informing her that her aunt died - making her an heiress worth over two million bucks. Now that might prove to be a reasonable motive.

 

Catch Me If You Can Cast - Photo by Tim Dietlein

The convoluted meanderings of the story take on a new twist when the unexpected happens: suddenly Elizabeth Corbin (J.C. Wendel) pops up with Catholic priest Father Kelleher (Don Woodruff) in tow. Only Daniel doesn’t recognize his wife - and keeps desperately insisting that she isn’t his wife at all. But nobody believes him. In fact, they’re all sure that he’s ready for the loony bin; and his spouse seems to be the person most willing - and eager - to send him there. And throw away the key.

 

Richard Large, J.C. Wendel, Brian Middleton, and Don Woodruff - Photo by Tim Dietlein

CATCH ME IF YOU CAN ramps up the tension through every scene - at the same time creating chuckles and gasps. The entire cast does a great job of building up from a quiet and innocuous beginning to increasingly nerve-wracking scenes, each more mystifying and tense as they unfold. This is an intensely involving play which never lets the mind wander very far. Director Tim Dietlein has managed to keep the pace building and the tension mounting in this clever piece of theater. As always, the production team has done a fine job of creating a set fitting the countrified Catskills of the early 70's. Best of all for an unpredictable mystery/comedy, the ending is completely unexpected. In fact, director Dietlein implores the exiting audience to keep the surprise ending a secret. I’ll never tell.

 

Richard Large, J.C. Wendel, Brian Middleton, and Don Woodruff - Photo by Tim Dietlein

CATCH ME IF YOU CAN runs through May 7, 2016, with performances at 8 p.m. Thursdays to Saturdays with 3 p.m. matinees on Saturdays and two Sundays (April 10 and April 17). The Glendale Centre Theatre is located at 324 N. Orange Street, Glendale, CA 91203. Tickets are $32 (adult), $25 (seniors), and $20 (children under 16). For reservations, call 818-244-8481 or go online at www.glendalecentretheatre.com.

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