The scene is set: a heavy rain pours and the black gauze of deception hovers over Detective Pimbley as he drowns his sorrow. Whiskey neat is his drink of choice, and Jim Beam’s the only friend he’s got. But, wait! A knock at the door! A case! A crime! A box of Crayolas!
The Impressionable Players infuse the whodunit with freshness, borrowing from film noir and slapstick as the audience basks in the delightful romp, Detective Pimbley and the Case of the Rich Dead Lady.
Samantha Sultry (Natalie Pyle Smith) visits the aforementioned Pimbley (Noah Langer), an old lover, and solicits his sleuthing. Her sister, Madge, has been found shot, crucified, poisoned, and thrown from a window. Was it her wily husband, Fred Silver (Matt Sparacino)? Rosie (Katie Jeffries), the sultry Sultry sister? Or is Sam herself pulling the good detective into her artful chicanery?
It’s hard to say, and as barbs sprint across the stage in snappy, clever dialogue, the actors maintain a heightened sense of urgency that keeps the audience, always, on the edge of knowing. Or thinking they know. Or thinking they know they know. Or don’t know. Or something like that. It’s all a bit complicated, but in a good way.
Money’s the motive, but Fred loved his wife “dearly (ish),” Rosie really only wants love (or maybe sex), and Sam’s always been a little psycho, but she’s never stooped to murder.
Detective Pimbley and the Case of the Rich Dead Lady
by Ann Fraistat
at Fort Fringe – Redrum
612 L Street NW
Washington, DC, 20001
Details and tickets
“I part my hair on this side now,” she blushes breathlessly.
Langer’s Pimbley bumbles through the case, smitten with both Sam and the craft of kleptomania. Smith projects equal parts Ingrid Bergman and Jessica Rabbit, but Jeffries is the bad girl of the show, throwing her Rosie at Pimbley and his desk in some of the bawdiest seduction work to grace a stage. Sparacino spews the best lines with perfect force: “Woman, why don’t you shut up and cook me some silence!”
Everyone may be over-the-top, but they share the stage with equal weight in a show that would falter in the hands of lesser actors. Director Ann Fraistat and Shawn Fraistat have co-written something silly and fun and outrageous in all the right ways. They’ve proven themselves (again—as I was told by fellow audience members) talents to be recognized.
A day of work nearly done, Pimbley packs for Canada, “where the roads are paved in asphalt and the people are innocuous,” when his final distressed visitor beckons in the bang-up climax. To know who, and whodunit, you’ll have to get your own ticket.
But, know this: Detective Pimbley had me from hello. This earnest, lovable lug has won my heart with a single open window. A couple of spikes. That mysterious shot in the dark, and one bad romance almost as dead as the poisoned Madge Sultry.
Bravo, man. Bravo.