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Murder mystery and talented cast a killer combination PDF Print E-mail
Written by Darci Tomky   
Tuesday, 22 November 2011 15:39

From the moment the lights came up on the Pallfeather family house, it was nothing but suspense as both cast and audience members alike pieced the puzzle together at the old-fashioned murder mystery “Murder Runs in the Family.”

Murder after murder took place Friday and Saturday nights, Nov. 18-19 on the HHS stage as Holyoke witnessed a suspenseful, yet hilarious, crime scene.

Director Eric Conklin relived the good ol’ days of the HHS Drama Department in a riveting play that certainly deserves two thumbs up.

Every single witty, cooky, charming and downright funny cast member all made the annual fall play one to remember.



Finally revealed as the murderer, Aunt Zelda (Kelsey Kramer) threatens
to kill everyone, including private eye Jack Sparks (Austin Killin).  
—Enterprise photo



Fearing there could be a murderer in the house, scatterbrained Mirium
Pallfeather (Molly Brandt) carelessly shows her gun to lawyer Cleo
Burdett (Teanna Clark).            —Enterprise photo


Audiences were immediately transported to a luxurious and elaborate set portraying the well-to-do Pallfeather family living room. Despite an approaching storm, the Pallfeather family gathered for the reading of the will of the deceased Bernard Pallfeather.

The innocent Heather, played by Brooke Parker, had an unwavering determination to find out the real reason behind her stepfather’s “heart attack,” going so far as to hire private eye Jack Sparks, posed as her fiancé, to help solve the murder.

Jack, played by Austin Killin, gave the audience the giggles as the shenanigans of the Pallfeather family certainly kept him on his toes. The mystery eventually fell into place for this private eye, who has had some unique experience of his own. “It was three years ago; I was working the graveyard shift down at the docks...”

Molly Brandt’s character, Mirium Pallfeather, was welcoming to her family, but really, this gray-haired mother couldn’t solve the mystery of her husband’s death let alone find the kitchen or assemble the staff. It might not have been such a good idea to let her carry a gun around—or her cowbell for that matter.



Patricia Purdy (Jordan Zeiler) takes a good look at the new fiancé
of her cousin Heather (Brooke Parker, at right).    —Enterprise photo



Never knowing exactly who they could trust, Claude Purdy (A.J. Brandt)
surrenders as Kathleen Pallfeather (Brittney Prottsman) points a gun
to his head.        —Enterprise photo


Luckily she has Montgomery, played by Ben Martinez. This Pallfeather butler, an actual undercover cop, may not have had much of a personality, but he kept an eye on the family and managed to crack a joke every once in a while.

Cousin Patricia Purdy and her husband Claude, played by Jordan Zeiler and A.J. Brandt, were a suspicious-looking pair. Patricia treated her prey just like the animals on “Wild Kingdom,” and the convict Claude had been “locked up more than a teenager’s diary.”

Maxine Pallfeather, played by Jacinda Krueger, was the stepsister who left home at age 5. Dressed from head to toe in black, she proved she can stand up for herself, something Jack can certainly attest to after their entertaining sumo wrestling duel.

As if the murder mystery wasn’t already confusing enough, audience members were seeing double as spirited Kathleen Pallfeather, played by Brittney Prottsman, pretended to be her identical twin sister to cover up just one of many murders that day.



The Pallfeathers’ butler, Montgomery (Ben Martinez), turns out to be
an undercover policeman watching over the Pallfeather house after
Bernard’s suspicious death.        —Enterprise photo


Tough stepsister Maxine Pallfeather (Jacinda Krueger) doesn’t hold
back in her intense sumo wrestling demonstration with a terrified Jack
(Austin Killin). She asked him how he felt, with his weak reply,
“Like someone stole my cow!”          —Enterprise photo



An unfortunate messenger (Ryan Parker) falls dead after he arrives
at the Pallfeather house with a knife in his back.       —Enterprise photo


Cheek-tweaker zany Aunt Zelda, played by Kelsey Kramer, had a few tricks up her own sleeve, not to mention a loaded gun or two. Everyone seemed to have taken these “extra precautions,” which, according to Mirium, “might just come in handy if I’ve got it loaded right.”

Lawyer Cleo Burdett, played by Teanna Clark, wasn’t sure what she got herself into when she arrived at the Pallfeather house for the reading of the will. She was in quite a pickle after several family members sneakily switched out the will for their own copy of the precious document.

Adding to the mystery were the deaths of the messenger and the policeman, both played by Ryan Parker, who had definitely perfected the art of dying by the end of the show.

Intense gun shot sound effects, thunder, lightning, blackouts and a host of other special effects added to the suspenseful crime scene. Louise Krog Meyer and Chris Bieber were in charge of the lights while Logan Zeiler and Shaylee Krueger tackled the sound.

By the end of the night, Jack had just about lost his cool, facing a line of batty family members with guns, a never-ending dark closet, several mysterious murders, cut phone lines and convenient power outages. Not wanting to reveal the suspect too soon, a nervous Jack said, “I tell you who it is and the lights go flooey and I get shot!”

Everyone was just dying to know who the murderer was, and luckily, to the audience’s delight, this private eye solved the case just in time, proving that murder does, in fact, run in the family.



Despite a wacky set of family members, private eye Jack Sparks (Austin Killin, in center) does his best to solve the murder mystery, piecing together clues from the suspicious events of one stormy evening at the Pallfeather house. Pictured from left are cast members Teanna Clark, Molly Brandt, Brooke Parker, Jordan Zeiler, Ben Martinez, A.J. Brandt (hidden), Austin Killin, Brittney Prottsman, Kelsey Kramer and Jacinda Krueger.   
—Enterprise photo


Holyoke Enterprise November 24, 2011