Amateur theater, a serial killer and a missing child are all in a day’s work for a starchy old part-time Martha’s Vineyard deputy.
Still going strong at 92, Victoria Trumbull (Indian Pipes, 2006, etc.) is getting her name in lights. The local theater group is producing her play, an adaptation of Frankenstein, though the death of one of the players brings disaster in more ways than one. After Peg Storm takes her neighbor, child actor Teddy Vanderhoop, home with her after the dress rehearsal, she’s found dead, and Teddy has disappeared with her dog Sandy. Artistic Director Dearborn Hill insists the play must go on, and so it does, with many stand-ins for actors who consider his attitude insensitive. The ineptness of some cast members turns the melodrama into a roaring farce that scores a hit with the audience despite the death of another performer. When Victoria discovers Teddy hiding with Sandy in her attic, she accedes to his plea to remain hidden, although she informs the police while everyone continues to hunt for a malefactor who seems bent on killing off the cast in order of appearance. At an impromptu gathering at Victoria’s house that brings together many of the cast, Sandy fingers the culprit in a campy Christie-like denouement.
Less local lore and more amusing characters make this outing one of Riggs’s best.