The Van Wert County Courthouse

Friday, Jan. 21, 2022

Review: ‘Murder Inn’ frightfully good fun

By NANCY WHITAKER/for the VW independent

Get ready for some fun, suspense, and drama as a creative group of performers from Off Stage Productions presents Murder Inn, written by Howard Voland and Keith McGregor. The director for the presentation is Dan Bulau, assisted by Amy Shoppell.

Murder Inn, set in New England, at the Barnsley Inn is an old dilapidated eighteenth century inn, which is haunted by a poltergeist named Marco. Marco is a knife-throwing spirit and tends to throw knives at almost anyone who occupies the Inn. A bossy old lady, Martha Talbot, and her son, Jake, run the haunted site. Martha, played by Julie Miller, has a big mouth and really doesn’t want anyone staying at her inn. Jake, her son, played by Travis Nihiser, is a dutiful son and is just about as back woodsy as his mother.

Cast members of the Off Stage Productions rendition of Murder Inn rehearse at the Van Wert County Council on Aging. (photo submitted)
Cast members of the Off Stage Productions rendition of Murder Inn rehearse at the Van Wert County Council on Aging. (photo submitted)

When a group of tourists on a New England tour looking for ghosts and ghouls get caught in a bad storm, they wind up stranded in the haunted Murder Inn. The group of travelers is a diverse bunch. Agnes Tate, an uppity, cranky old lady does not like the fact they are stuck in such a decrepit, rundown place. Stacy Kaufmann gives a wonderful performance and her criticisms and actions will have you rolling on the floor.

Agnes’s young niece, Carolyn Pickett, is traveling with her and is at her aunt’s beck and call. Lacy Allen plays this part, and even though she assists her aunt, she doesn’t really care to be bossed around.

Other travelers in the group are Ellen Halsey, the tour guide, played by Marcy Shoppell; Muriel Lampmann, played by Amy McConn, who uses a Ouija board to add to the mystery; and Patricia Simpson, played by Terri Stevens, a nervous lady who acts like she is keeping a secret.

Also in the group of travelers is Professor Lawrence Currier. The professor has three different ladies after him and he ponders everything to an extent and has quotes on almost every topic. John Vining does a wonderful job of playing the pompous professor, with his dry sense of humor and precise thinking.

His son, Todd, is played by Cody Tucker. Todd somehow manages to get in the middle of some spooky happenings and finds himself right in the center of murder.

None of the guests feel exceptionally good about staying in the inn, but have no choice. Two longtime friends, Grace Sharp, played by Jewell Kurtz; and Doris Brooks, played by Lisa Eichler; do a fine job of also getting involved in solving the murders. Grace has a habit of correcting Doris’s English, which irritates her to no end.

Donald Shultz (Ed Eichler) is a laid back, sleepy guy and he will have you laughing, but wondering “who-dun-it”.

The tourists get ready for an unexpected night of murder and mayhem. All kinds of knives fly around and murders begin to take place.

The play will grab the audience’s attention from beginning to end, as the storm doesn’t stop, lights go off and Murder Inn guests become frightened.

As the storm gets worse, there is no escape from this old inn as the travelers are picked off one at a time. Who is the killer? What is the motive? Solving this crime is not going to be an easy job.

Join Off Stage in opening the season by seeing Murder Inn. There will be performances on three weekends, with seven show dates. Performances are scheduled for October 24, 25, 30, and 31, as well as November 1, 6, and 7.

Doors open at 6:30 on Friday and Saturday evenings and at 12:30 p.m. on Sundays. Enjoy the fine buffet prepared by Catering at its BEST by Sonya and Diane. Dinner is set for 7 on weekends with the show at 8 p.m., while Sunday buffets will be served at 1 p.m., with a show time of 2. The box office closes at 6 p.m. each day; reserve tickets by calling 419.605.6708.

Come and help solve the crimes at Murder Inn.

POSTED: 10/26/15 at 8:33 am. FILED UNDER: Arts & Entertainment, News