Step one in understanding the depth of originality found in the murder mystery musical “Something’s Afoot”: Listen to a few bars of “Rule, Britannia” and “English Country Garden.” Those tunes will give you a foothold on the atmosphere of the secluded island where Lord Rancour has invited six seemingly unrelated guests for “a marvelous weekend.”
You’ll have a leg up on your fellow theatergoers knowing that “Afoot” is a send-up of Agatha Christie and mystery writers who’ve followed in her footsteps. Otterbein’s production, sure-footedly directed by Doreen Dunn, is a cute conclusion to its summer theater series.
You’ll be kept on your toes trying to guess which character will get killed next. Will it be Dr. Grayburn (Kyle Hansen), or the old soldier Colonel Gilweather (James Scully) or Lord Rancour’s footman Clive (Sean Murphy)?
Meanwhile, the naive tenderfoot Hope Langdon (Molly Wetzel) finds her Achilles heel in the college rower Geoffrey (Austin Ramsey), adding another corny love story to those of Gilweather and Lady Grace (Mary Kate O’Neill), and maid Lettie (Courtney Dahl) and caretaker Flint (Andrew Szczerba). Rancour’s callous nephew Nigel (Sam Ray) and the Miss Jane Marple stand-in, Miss Tweed (Emma Brock), each prove to have feet of clay.
Otterbein’s “Something’s Afoot” won’t knock your socks off, but it’s a step in the right direction and a pleasant end to this season’s entertainment.