Veteran and Award-winning stage actor Darryl Maximilian Robinson played Inspector Colquhoun of Scotland Yard in the 2014 Kentwood Players of Los Angeles Revival of Agatha Christie's The Hollow Edit
"Darryl Maximilian Robinson, who plays Inspector Colquhoun, gives us some of the best comedic moments with his exaggerated physicality and line delivery, and the sense that he knows more of what's happened than the family thinks." -- Kristina Lendrum, Review: The Hollow - Westchester Playhouse, AUDITION INSIDE, May 20, 2014.
"You probably won't know who did it, but even if you think you do, you'll find yourself pondering the relationships and the motives, and the way the very tall inspector holds his hands tightly to his chest like a detective out of an old movie. The entire show has little gems, little moments that sparkle...Inspector Colquhoun, played by Darryl Maximilian Robinson and his assistant Detective Penny, played by Doug Mattingly, bring the Scotland Yard with them to the country via inspector pads and pencils, and a proclivity to ask a lot of questions. In the end, it's all about the people, not the problem; find out with whom you are dealing, and you'll know who dealt the death!" -- Lydia Kapp, The Hollow: A Good Old-Fashioned Night of Murder, LIFE IN LA, May 19, 2014.
During the course of his 45-year-long theatre career, veteran and award-winning stage actor and play director Darryl Maximilian Robinson ( the Founder of the multiracial, non-Equity professional chamber theatre, The Excaliber Shakespeare Company of Chicago ) has had the pleasure of appearing in and staging several fine mysteries and thrillers, including one penned by one of the best whodunit authors of all time. Written in 1951, Agatha Christie's The Hollow is a crime drama based on her 1946 novel of the same name. The action takes place in the garden room of Sir Henry Angkatell's estate, The Hollow, about 18 miles from London. His wife Lucy has invited several people for the weekend, but when John Cristow turns up murdered, Inspector Colquhoun of Scotland Yard and his assistant Detective Sergeant Penny are called in to solve the case. As usual, Christie throws plenty of twists and turns in the way before the murderer's identity and motive are revealed. Chicago Joseph Jefferson Citation Award Winner and Los Angeles ELATE Season Ticket Holder Award Nominee Darryl Maximilian Robinson earned fine notices for his portrayal of Inspector Colquhoun in the 2014 revival of Agatha Christie's work presented by the Kentwood Players at The Westchester Playhouse in Los Angeles.
The Hollow: A Good Old-Fashioned Night of MurderEdit
Written by Lydia Kapp for Life in LA May 19, 2014
If you are looking for a good old fashion mystery, head down to the Westchester Playhouse for a production of Agatha Christie's The Hollow. The Kentwood Players have produced a fun evening of guess-who British banter that warmly fills a rather excellently designed stage. With green hills traipsing off in the background and the stylish paint-job of an English country home, Drew Fitzsimmons captures the elegance and the cheer that oft precedes a Christie murder, setting us at ease even when we know what is coming.
The action takes place at The Hollow, the home of Sir Henry and Lucy Angkatell. A delightfully quirky couple, Henry and Lucy invite their friends and family over for the weekend. Although Lucy is commonly described as a dear, her husband also says he is worried that she could get away with murder. Given all the unforeseeably fortunate accidents that happen around her, his worries seem founded.
Christie sets the tone of the play with this first description, telling us this murder mystery will be both serious and silly. And indeed it was. The crop of characters take us from chuckling to twisting our fake mustaches in suspicion. Was it Edward, the jealous every-man who wants Henrietta to himself? Or was it really Lucy, who cannot for the life of her remember what she was doing with her eggs? Veronica Craye might have done it; after all, that Marilyn Monroe act of hers doesn't exclude fury. Or perhaps it was Midge, the one we least suspect?
Directed by George Kondreck, The Hollow makes for an entertaining evening with old-fashioned charm. You probably won't know who did it, but even if you think you do, you'll find yourself pondering the relationships and the motives, and the way the very tall inspector holds his hands tightly to his chest like a detective out of an old movie. The entire show has little gems, little moments that sparkle. In fact it's a rather fun realizing that our human fascination with mysteries has had a much, much longer run than CSI or Bones or Castle can attest. Christie is a veteran of the genre. She seems to know that even decades and centuries after her stories are written, we'll still be facing the same temptations. And how even if we are not the one to kill a man, we all want to know who did.
Jack Winnick plays a lovable Sir Henry, while Elaine Arnett plays his baffling and baffled wife. Jennifer Sperry is a troubled, independent Henrietta, whose sculptures give away the emotions she doesn't always show. Heather Barnett is particularly winsome as the sweet Midge, who cannot seem to capture Edward's attention, even though she's not a child anymore. David Tracq's Edward is spot-on as the nice-guy who gets overlooked.
John Cristow, played by Dylan Bailey, spits some good lines about wanting and hating the same thing, while his wife Gerda, played by Kiah Gordon, dotes on him as only a truly trusting wife could do. Veronica Craye makes quite the dramatic entrance with a feather boa and a feathery voice, while Harold Dershimer plays Gudgeon, an opinionated but extremely thoughtful butler. His apprentice, Doris the maid played by Janet Lee-Rodriguez, comes across perfectly cockney with an appreciation of eavesdropping. Inspector Colquhoun, played by Darryl Maximilian Robinson and his assistant Detective Penny, played by Doug Mattingly, bring the Scotland Yard with them to the country via inspector pads and pencils, and a proclivity to ask a lot of questions. In the end, it's all about the people, not the problem; find out with whom you are dealing, and you'll know who dealt the death!
If you are into mystery and you need an excuse to escape the summer heat, or just an excuse to discover a cute little playhouse, come to Westchester and see The Hollow. It runs at the Westchester Playhouse at 8301 Hindry Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90045 from now till June 21st, Friday and Saturday nights at 8:00 pm and Sundays and 2:00 pm. Tickets are $18, with a $2 discount for seniors, students, and servicemen and women. Call (310)645-5156 to order tickets or visit http://www.brownpapertickets.com/profile/341409 to order online.
The Kentwood Players is a non-profit community theater that has been producing affordable, entertaining live-stage shows since 1949. What a legacy! Spend a night at the theatre and support these local artists who are committed to keeping their prices low and their productions excellent!
The Hollow – Westchester PlayhouseEdit
May 20, 2014
Kentwood Players – Los Angeles, CA
Remaining shows: May 16- June 21, 2014, Fri/Sat @ 8 PM; Sun @ 2 PM
By Kristina Lendrum
A good murder-mystery takes time to set up. If done right, it lasts a few hours, tantalizes us with clues, twists, and doubts, before surprising us all with the inevitably shocking conclusion. The Kentwood Players’ production of “The Hollow,” directed by George Kondreck and produced by Sheldon and Arlene Cohen, is a solid example of this; the running time is three hours, and it holds your interest faithfully until the end.Based on an Agatha Christie novel of the same name, the play opens with the Angkatell clan – the matriarch, Lady Lucy; her husband, Sir Henry; and younger cousins Henrietta, Midge, and Edward – preparing for a weekend at Ainswick, their family estate. Accompanying them are family friends John and Gerda Cristow. It quickly becomes apparent that there is more than meets the eye with regards to the relations of these folk, and when John Cristow is murdered, a trove of hidden emotions is unearthed in the search for who killed him.
The performances are very engaging. With some plays, there is a tendency for the script to sound wooden – very obviously memorized and performed. It is an affliction suffered to a certain degree by most of the actors, particularly in the smaller roles. The butler Gudgeon (Harold Dershimer), the servant-girl Doris (Janet Lee Rodriguez), Sir Henry Angkatell (Jack Winnick), and Detective Sergeant Penny (Doug Mattingly) all have this problem, but as the script itself never gives these characters a true chance to shine, the actors do well with what they are given, and play the roles with varying levels of charm, energy, and enthusiasm.
Jennifer Sperry, as Henrietta Angkatell, and Heather Barnett, as Midge Harvey, both improve throughout the play, bringing these two lonely, independent women to life. Elaine Arnett is wonderful as the absentminded Lady Lucy, and she makes the prose-y speech work for her character. Where she excels is her physicality: her way of walking, moving around the stage, and holding herself, makes Lucy more lifelike than any other character in the play. Darryl Maximilian Robinson, who plays Inspector Colquhoun, gives us some of the best comedic moments with his exaggerated physicality and line delivery, and the sense that he knows more of what’s happened than the family thinks.
Dylan Bailey and Kiah Gordon –John and Gerda Cristow, respectively – are the best part of the whole play. Bailey brings John Cristow to life through his line delivery, imbuing each phrase with the level of emotion it deserves, and an understated way of moving around the space that gives the impression of a real person, not just words on paper. Gordon gives Gerda a nervous, twitchy physicality that suits the character well, and stays consistent and believable in the way she delivers her dialogue, culminating in a wracked, tearful monologue. They are both well-rounded characters who have clear thoughts, desires, and paths. John Cristow has some less-than-admirable traits, but Bailey somehow makes him strangely likeable; and rather than causing us to be annoyed at the too-anxious character of Gerda, Gordon makes us sympathize and even ache for what she has to go through.
The Hollow is solidly performed by the Kentwood Players. However, the play itself is flawed; instead of feeling like a plot driven by the characters, it feels more like a series of points that utilizes each character to get further in the story. It works well as a mystery – it kept me guessing, right to the end. But the whole time, I was aware I was watching a play, and I spent more time trying to piece together the clues than connecting with the characters. But that’s not much to complain about, and all in all, The Hollow is enjoyable and surprisingly funny. If you get a chance, check it out.
AN INSPECTOR PERFORMER ALUM'S UPDATE!:
Most recently, during an extended year-long visit to his original hometown of Chicago, Darryl Maximilian Robinson garnered attention for his well-received portrayal of the marvelous dual roles of Mr. William Cartwright, Your Chairman of The Music Hall Royale and The Mayor Thomas Sapsea of Cloisterham, England in skilled Director / Music Director Robert-Eric West's 2018 Saint Sebastian Players of Chicago Revival Production of Rupert Holmes' classic Tony Award-winning Best Musical Mystery Whodunit The Mystery of Edwin Drood presented at the lovely, more than a century old St. Bonaventure Church in the West Lakeview neighborhood of The Windy City. Mr. Robinson's performance was critically-praised, documented earlier this year by Wikipedia, and in November of 2019: The Year of Chicago Theatre, captured for him a 2019 Chicago BroadwayWorld.com Regional Theatre Award Nomination for Best Performer In A Musical or Revue ( Resident Non-Equity ). The SSP Revival of The Mystery of Edwin Drood received a grand total of Seven 2019 Chicago BroadwayWorld.com Regional Theatre Award Nominations including: Best Performer In A Musical or Revue ( Resident Non-Equity ) for Sarah Myers for her fine portrayal of Edwin Drood and Miss Alice Nutting; Best Direction of A Musical or Revue ( Resident Non-Equity ) for Robert-Eric West; Best Choreography ( Resident Non-Equity ) for Tamara Drew; Best Costume Design ( Resident Non-Equity ) for Sandra Leander; Best Set Design ( Resident Non-Equity ) for Emil Zbella; and Best Ensemble of A Musical ( Resident Non-Equity ) for THE ENTIRE CAST! Those who love musical theatre performance in The Windy City that would like to honor and support the work of Mr. Robinson and his fellow nominees of Rupert Holmes' brilliant but seldom performed stage classic with their votes for this critically-praised Non-Equity professional theatre production may do so by visiting: BroadwayWorld.com Chicago Regional Theatre Awards Voting!
Your Continued Support of The Tradition of Non-Equity Professional Theatre In Chicago Is Appreciated!