Another day, another body, could Jack the Ripper be back? In The Victorian Ladies’ Detective Collective sisters Loveday (Stacy Ross) and Valeria (Jan Zvaifler) run a boarding house in which many of the neighborhoods theater actresses live. One by one they turn up dead. The fear results in less patrons, and inevitably a cut in pay for the actors which leads Katie (Chelsea Bearce), an American actress and lodger, to ask Valeria for a break from her rent.
Loveday who was once an actress herself, is alone when Katie arrives. She notices Katie’s curiosity over the research she’s been doing to find the murderer. Loveday tries to reach out to police to no avail. as the Constable (Alan Coyne), spends more time pointing out the supposed inadequacies of the female gender than solving anything. Loveday and Katie have no choice but to take matters into their own hands with some financial help from Valeria.
As the show progresses the audience is taken on a whodunnit roller coaster. Was it Jasper, the butcher, the police themselves (all played by Alan Coyne)? Jasper is exceptionally triggering as he’s not only sexist, but also a rapist. Ladies being able to take care of themselves and having their own thoughts is too much for the men to handle. They constantly belittle women physically and mentally. This only strengthens the women and their goal of finding the murderer, to protect themselves and future victims.
All the actors are wonderful and Chelsea Bearce as Katie often steals the show. She has multiple types of martial arts training including Tessen, based on the use of the solid iron fan or the folding iron fan. There is a serious tone to many parts of the show given the storyline, but not without some humor at the outrageousness of the men and their small egos. The show is written by the local award-winning playwright Patricia Milton and directed by Gary Graves. This is their fifth writer/director comic collaboration.
Update on May 16th: The show has been extended for 4 more performances!
May 4–Jun 9
World Premiere #63: from the Central Works Writers Workshop
Advance tickets are $22-$38 online or $38–$15 sliding scale at the door. For information, extended dates and tickets, visit http://centralworks.org.