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Warren Gerds/Critic at Large: Machickanee Players of Oconto taking on a British comedy

Critic At Large

‘The Farndale Avenue Housing Estate Townswomen’s Guild Dramatic Society Murder Mystery’

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OCONTO, Wis. (WFRV)

The Machickanee Players will present the British comedy “The Farndale Avenue Housing Estate Townswomen’s Guild Dramatic Society Murder Mystery” in six performances in the troupe’s park avenue playhouse.

Performances are Oct. 18-20 and 25-27 at 7 p.m. Fridays, 6 p.m. Saturdays (dinner shows) and 1:30 p.m. Sundays (dessert shows). Info: themachickaneeplayers.org.

The play is part of a series concocted since 1975 by David McGillivray and Walter Zerlin Jr. Most have played in Britain, and some have made their way to the United States.

From the website: Every drama group has experienced the horrors of what can go wrong on the night, and the ladies of the Farndale Avenue Housing Estate Townswomen’s Guild Dramatic Society are no different, with the possible exception that almost everything that could happen does. The scenery collapses, cues are missed, lines forgotten and the sound effects take on a strange note at times, as the ladies present their ambitious evening’s entertainment with the cunning whodunit, “Murder at Checkmate Manor.”

And just in case the audience should get bored, there’s a film and fashion show and murder mystery quiz complete with prize.

The crunch comes in the denouement when the “murderer,” about to be revealed, has to rush home to bandage up an injured daughter. But Mrs. Reece, doyenne of the group, rises above the slings and arrows of outrageous dramatics to save the situation and provide the final inventive twist.

From website comments by David McGillvary: “It’s no accident that the Farndale Ladies, who can’t seem to perform the simplest task without falling over or breaking something, were created in Great Britain, possibly the only country in the world which discourages personal achievement as vulgar and has made cult out of the heroic failure.”

The Farndale Avenue ladies have taken on everything from Shakespeare to French farce to science-fiction adventure to opera to “Peter Pan” – all “desecrated by Farndale Avenue ineptitude.”

The Machickanee Players production is directed by Jenni Fabry and Kyle Patrick.

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