Photo by Ki Gottberg
Daisy Hilton, left, Danbert Nobacon and Madelynn will keep you guessing in The Merc Playhouse production of “The Real Inspector Hound.”

By Ann McCreary

Spooky Muldoon Manor hosts a cast of suspicious characters — including a dead body waiting to be discovered — in a comic, fast-paced murder mystery spoof that opens Thursday (July 27) at The Merc Playhouse.

“The Real Inspector Hound” begins with one murder committed and more to come, said director Ki Gottberg, who is artistic director of The Merc.

“It’s very funny and clever … with crazy stock characters,” Gottberg said. “It’s full of farce, kind of slapstick in a way, but intellectually stimulating too.”

The action takes place in one act, set in a forbidding and remote manor on the English moors, which raises the question — why do so many odd people keep turning up?

Written by award-winning playwright Tom Stoppard (also known for “Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead”), “the play is a spoof on Agatha Christie murder mysteries — you know, no-one-leaves-the-room kind of thing,” Gottberg said. “It’s a fast-paced whodunit.”

The show presents a play within a play in a witty and unpredictable tale with mystery, danger and romantic intrigue.

The performance features costumes designed by a student intern from Seattle University, where Gottberg teaches drama. The set was created by Gottberg and local resident Betsy Kieckhaefer.

The cast features local performers LaShelle Lyman, Cash McClane, Daisy Hilton, Madelynn Eubanks, Don Nelson and Danbert Nobacon, and Seattle University students Josh Swaby and Brennan Bunn.

“The Real Inspector Hound” runs July 27 through Aug. 6. Performances are Wednesday through Saturday at 7 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. Tickets are $16-$18 for adults, $5 – $7 for youths under 18.

Doors open 30 minutes prior to show time. Advance tickets are available online at The Merc website, www.mercplayhouse.org. Limited reserve seating is available online up to 75 minutes before show time.