Boogaloo actors rehearse one of the final scenes of ‘Murder on Apple Road.’
The cast of ‘Murder on Apple Road’ walks through curtain call.
Sue Keith’s character shocks others onstage as she tells a story during one scene in the play.
UNION — How good are you at solving a murder and catching the murderer?
If you attend one of the performances of “Murder on Apple Road” this weekend you will have the chance to test your deductive skills.
Murder on Apple Road is the latest production of Boogaloo Folklife Productions and will be presented Friday at 7 p.m., Saturday at 7 p.m., and Sunday at 3 p.m. at the USC Union auditorium.
The play is written by Boogaloo member Dan O’Shields who described it as a “comedy-mystery” with characters that are “believable but nevertheless a little zany.”
O’Shields said the 90-minute play deals with the aftermath of the death of Gladys Medlin, more commonly referred to by those who knew her as “Aunt Gladys.” Upon the death of Aunt Gladys, O’Shields said her family and friends gather, not really morn, but to try to grab as much of her estate for themselves as possible. Before their maneuverings can really get under way, however, they are thrown an unexpected curve ball in the form of a detective investigating Aunt Gladys’ death, an investigation that places them all under suspicion.
“Aunt Gladys dies and it appears to be of natural causes,” O’Shield said Wednesday. “So everybody gathers there to grab a portion of her fortune.
“A detective then comes in to reveal that she died from arsenic poisoning and so it appears she was murdered,” he said. “He then questions everyone, family and friends, and it becomes apparent that most likely one of them is the killer.”
Who is the killer of Aunt Gladys? There are eight suspects, all of whom had opportunity and many of whom had motive for killing her in an effort to get their hands on her money. The suspects and their possible motives are:
• Henry Simpson, a retired college professor and nephew of Gladys who is the executor of her estate. O’Shields describes Henry as apparently only being interested in his aunt’s fortune.
• Virginia Simpson, Gladys’ niece who has been living in California but has come back from time to time to visit her aunt. O’Shields describes Virginia as someone who is down on her luck and doesn’t have much money.
• Frank Medlin, Gladys’ son, who O’Shields said has been living off his mother for years, constantly borrowing money from her.
• Gwendolyn Medlin, Frank’s wife and Gladys’ daughter-in-law who, like her husband, was also constantly borrowing money from her mother-in-law.
• Oliver Medlin, Frank and Gwendolyn’s son and Gladys’ grandson. O’Shields describes Oliver as the child from hell who is always up to no good and is always playing tricks on people. He said that Gwendolyn, however, sees Oliver as absolutely wonderful and blames his teachers for all his shortcomings.
• Vince Wiggins, a neighbor of Gladys’ who lives down the street from her and who she often hired to do repairs around her house. O’Shields said that Vince proved to be an incompetent repairman, messing up the repairs he was supposed to be making, forcing Gladys to hire another repairman to fix both the original problem and the damage done by Vince. He this meant Gladys had to pay both Vince and the second repairman.
• Samantha Wiggins, Vince’s wife who did cleaning around Gladys’ house. O’Shields describes Samantha as someone who looks past her husband’s failings, seeing him as a knight in shining armor. He said Samantha is very smart, but not as smart as she thinks she is.
• Clemmie Mason, a retired nurse and neighbor of Gladys’ who O’Shields said often played chess with Gladys. It is she who found Gladys’ body.
Questioning all of these suspects and trying to determine which one killed Gladys is Detective O’Day who is assisted in his investigation by two women police officers, Off. Sprague and Off. Krebbs.
Voting For A Murderer
While it’s up to Detective O’Day to figure out who the murderer is, the audience will have the opportunity to do the same, learn if they are right and possibly earn a prize in the process.
O’Shields said that by the end of the first act, the audience will have all the same clues that Detective O’Day has and, during intermission, will have the opportunity to vote on who they think the murderer is. While the vote will not actually determine who the murderer is as far as the outcome of the play is concerned, O’Shields said those who vote correctly will have their names placed into a drawing for a small prize.
The following members of Boogaloo Folklife Productions will portray the following characters in the play:
• Jim Stepp — Henry Simpson
• Katie Prince — Virginia Simpson
• Everett Leigh — Frank Medlin
• Lacretia McClurkin-Peake — Gwendolyn Medlin
• Matthew Martin — Oliver Medlin
• Ron Holden — Vince Wiggins
• Sallie Summers — Samantha Wiggins
• Sue Keith — Clemmie Mason
• Dave Leigh — Detective O’Day
• Fran Love — Off. Sprague
• Jackie Good — Off. Krebbs
The play is directed by Kathy Stepp with Linda and Jack Kelly serving as set designers and stage managers. The play also features an original song written by Dave Leigh.
Admission for all shows is $10 for adults and $6 for students of all ages. The tickets to Murder on Apple Road can be purchased at Something Special and the Union County Arts Council.