New murder mystery to debut at Dickens in time for Halloween


Coastal Point • R. Chris Clark: The cast of ‘Complicity’ rehearses for opening night at Dickens Parlour Theatre in Millville. Pictured, from left, are: Anthony Chiffolo, Veronica Bona, Mike Mall. Lori Ingram, Carolyn Robinson (on the couch) and Emily Abbott.Coastal Point • R. Chris Clark: The cast of ‘Complicity’ rehearses for opening night at Dickens Parlour Theatre in Millville. Pictured, from left, are: Anthony Chiffolo, Veronica Bona, Mike Mall. Lori Ingram, Carolyn Robinson (on the couch) and Emily Abbott.

‘Complicity’ is the latest play from local playwright Bob Davis

It’s a murder mystery four years in the making, but when “Complicity” finally debuts at Dickens Parlour Theatre on Monday, Oct. 26, more than just the killer will be unveiled.

“It’s a very complex plot. It touches a current theme in the U.S. right now that has a lot to do with acceptance of certain people,” said playwright Bob Davis, without giving away the plot’s major twist. “We had a reading of this play maybe four years ago and we asked at intermission if people could pick out the murderer - and no one could.”

The play will be the second Davis murder mysteries to debut, but it was actually the first he ever wrote, even though it has yet to take the stage, despite an initial reading in 2011. However, with Halloween approaching, and the undisclosed plot twist now more prominent in American pop-culture than ever, the performance seems to be right on cue.

“It’s just very strange how things come around,” Davis explained. “I had no idea when I wrote this a couple years ago how pertinent it would end up being.”

While both the murderer and the plot twist will, of course, remain a mystery for now, Davis said the play revolves around the untimely and mysterious death of Sir Charles MacGregor — an affluent Main Line Philadelphian whose death is investigated by Inspector Cummings, played by BART veteran Mike Mall.

However, with the plot’s complexity and delicate subject matter, Davis has stepped aside as assistant director and handed over the reins of the production to Rusty Hesse.

“Because of [the plot], it’s been a real challenge for me to get the actors to get into these roles,” Davis explained. “They certainly have a lot of fun with it, but it’s not an easy play to direct because of it.”

The cast is currently rehearsing at the Bethany Bay clubhouse but will move to Dickens Parlour Theatre as opening night approaches on Thursday, Oct. 29. That’s where Davis said that dynamic begins to change.

“The beauty of that little theater is that the people are right there with you,” he explained. “In the big theater, you sort of get lost in the crowd. Here, you are actually part of the action.

“The actors interact with the audience, so you kind of never know what’s going to happen when they get on the stage. We have people come back to see the same show because it’s different —almost every night it’s different.”

After wrapping up their production of “Hate Mail,” BART will be putting on six performances of “Complicity,” starting on Oct. 29 and spanning through Saturday, Nov. 7. Tickets cost $25 and the doors open at 7 p.m.

“We just felt that maybe this would be a chance to do something over the holidays that would be a little more fitting,” Davis said regarding the schedule, which includes a performance on Halloween night. “Most of the stuff that I’ve done have been light comedies. It’s always interesting to venture out into some other area and try to expand your horizons and bring other stories.”

For tickets, or to find out more about “Complicity” and future productions, call (302) 829-1071 or visit www.dptmagic.com.