Red Herring delights audiences with historical comedy

Michael Hollinger’s American comedy “Red Herring” was performed at the Seton Hill University Performing Arts Center (SHUPAC) the past two weekends, beginning Feb. 26 and running through March 6. This 50s film noir mystery, however, proved to be more than just the typical unidentified corpse-who-dunnit kind of plot.

By Bethany Bouchard

Contributor

Michael Hollinger’s American comedy “Red Herring” was performed at the Seton Hill University Performing Arts Center (SHUPAC) the past two weekends, beginning Feb. 26 and running through March 6. This 50s film noir mystery, however, proved to be more than just the typical unidentified corpse-who-dunnit kind of plot.

Drawing from several sources of inspiration, as he writes in “A Note From the Playwright,” Michael Hollinger states that “Red Herring” is “a fable about marriage.” With romance, mystery, suspense and a laugh sure to pop out of every closed door, what more could one ask for from a night’s entertainment?

Staged in the thrust, one of SHUPAC’s eight different staging options at the William Ryan Granger Theatre, the set design was kept to a minimum with scarce use of props and furniture. Despite the minimal set, the space became the McCarthy home in Wisconsin, a bridal dress shop, the apartment of detectives, a pier-side boarding house and the South Pacific, not to mention other various locations in and around Boston and Wisconsin.

The costumes were authentic to the 50s detective scene. The props that were used in a variety of creative and different ways that made sense to the plot and were believable. It just shows however much they enhance the story, it is not really necessary to have every different set and piece of equipment to view.

If the acting is honest and the scenes well-staged, as this performance was, an audience will be too caught up in enjoying the deliverance of the lines and the playing out of the scenes, as I was, to really bother with all the details of props.

This production of “Red Herring” was directed by Terry Brino-Dean, and the cast included sophomore Sarah Laughland, Nathan Hough, Ryan Seman, Amanda Morse, senior Laura Barron, Matt Henderson, sophomore Kristy Bissel, sophomore Brendan Duffy and Nathan May. “Red Herring” was originally produced by the Arden Theatre Company in Philadelphia.

If you didn’t make it to SHUPAC for “Red Herring”, I strongly recommend going down for their final production of the semester, “Macbeth”, running from Apr. 30 to May 8.