Who dunnit... Western Style
Bullets and Barbeque
by Cynthia Brekke | May 6, 2003
They had to make a slight revision... Sheriff Take Noble collapsed at the bar (with a feeble ‘ouch’), instead of in the street... but it didn’t take away from the presentation. Bullets and Barbeque, a fundraiser for the Dollars for Scholars organization, was a big hit on Sun., May 3, raising over $4,000.
The cast did an excellent job with their parts and were very believable in them. From the stiff (Sheriff Noble, played by Ken Boyd), to the menacing Juan Bandito (convincingly portrayed by Ed Hamilton), the characters came alive and paraded about in costume.
Accusations flew between the characters like bullets, as each one tried to point the guilty light on another. Dirty secrets were revealed... the school marm was an invester in the brothel – b-r-o-t-h-e-l; the mail order bride was already, unhappily married to Rowdy Azell, whose real name was Skip Forth; Juan Bandito committed a robbery, but his gold was found and under lock and key at the sheriff’s office; Doc Mallard hated the sheriff for not rounding up a possey to help his late, kidnapped wife; and B.B. Gun, the town madam, was known to carry a gun in her garter belt...
In each act, a little more was revealed of each character. Savanna, the narriator (Aileen DeMenge), walked the audience through and, sometimes, the characters as well (although it wasn’t frequent and blended very well). Breaks were taken, the first for hitting the chow line (this was, after all, a dinner theatre production). Chicken and ribs, augratin spuds, calico beans, bread stix and salad fixin’s were the offerings.
The next break was for the raffle. Each attendee could purchase tickets and win one of the many prizes that were donated by local businesses. Then it was back to the show, as things were beginning to heat up and more was being revealed. Sheriff Noble had recruited a new, younger doctor, name of Dr. Cutter. Sally Forth, the mail order bride, was seen lurking through the alley before the murder... Juan Bandito had been hired to kill the sheriff (Doc said that was just whiskey talk). Rowdy Azell had already killed a sheriff in another town.
The final break in the action was to place wagers on who did it... each character sold $5.00 chances on themselves, each with a different colored ticket. Half of the proceeds of this went to Dollars for Scholars and the other half to the winners.
Savanna, the narrator, was the one to spill the beans. “Doc! It was YOU!” she shouted and Doc Mallard hightailed it out the door, hanging on to his hat. That was the first show. In the second, it was: “JUAN, IT WAS YOU!”
There are many people who deserve credit for this clever production, both shows of which sold out. It was an excellent concept, but was definitely carried off by the actors themselves. Congrats to all for a great, entertaining performance.
This article first appeared in the May 6, 2003 issue of the Voyageur Press.