In this era of high-tech TV police procedurals, every so often you just want to enjoy an old-fashioned whodunit mystery, in which red herrings are knocked off one by one and near-omniscient murderers ply their maniacal trade without fear of DNA testing or security cameras. If this is the mood you're in, director Linda Kerns' fast-paced, sometimes ghoulish production of Agatha Christie's locked-room warhorse is a delightful panoply of murders, misdirection and folks dressing for dinner. Ten strangers are lured out to an isolated mansion on an island off the Devon coast. Before long, their dark secrets are revealed — and a maniac makes quick work of most of the group. Is the killer prissy Mrs. Brent (a nicely hateful Deborah Marlowe), brittle Judge Wargrave (a believably stern Steve Gustavson) or fidgety Dr. Armstrong (hilariously neurotic Wenzel Jones) — or perhaps one of the others? With this quick-paced, un-stodgy production, director Kerns' shrewd staging playfully tricks us again and again. The killer, after all, is essentially onstage the entire time, committing his (or her) dreadful deeds under your very eyes — but you don't notice a thing, so cunningly are we distracted by other incidents. Actors Co-op, David Schall Theatre, 1760 N. Gower St., Hlywd.; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 2:30 p.m.; through Nov. 18. (323) 462-8460, ext. 300, actorsco-op.org.
Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 2:30 p.m.; Sat., Oct. 20, 2:30 p.m.; Sat., Nov. 17, 2:30 p.m. Starts: Oct. 12. Continues through Nov. 18, 2012
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