The Mystery of Edwin Drood
May 3, 2011 • Paige Fabre, Senior Writer
Filed under Entertainment
For the Patriot Players’ final show before the theatre is torn down in June, they are performing The Mystery of Edwin Drood, a tongue-in-cheek show taking place in the Music Hall Royale, a London theatre in the year 1892. The Players portray raunchy Victorian actors putting on their premier performance of The Mystery of Edwin Drood, “a musicale with dramatic interludes”.
It is a show with one very unique aspect- audience participation.
The musical not only takes place on the stage, but in aisles. From start to finish, the actors interact with the crowd. The audience even gets to decide how the play ends by voting on several key aspects of the plot that Charles Dickens never resolved in his unfinished novel of the same name.
Since the musical takes after the novel, no one knows just how the play will end. By the middle of Act 2, the script runs out and the actors have no idea how the mystery will be solved. Who killed Edwin Drood? Is it his jealous uncle? A foreigner with a grudge? The Madame of the opium den? It could be any one of these, or it could not. Only the audience is able to decide who the murderer is. In addition to this decision, the audience is also able to vote on which character disguises himself as the detective, and which two characters end up as a couple.
Because no one in the cast knows how the audience will vote, each actor is prepared with varying songs and lines if they are chosen. Drood was the very first Broadway musical to ever have multiple endings. There are over 476 different combinations of endings, ensuring that each performance will be different than the last. A night of unexpected surprises, Drood proves to be a true crowd-pleaser.