Island Sun, August 17, 2001

Theatre Conspiracy Spoofs The Film-Noir Genre

by Di Saggau

Theatre Conspiracy is presenting its eighth world premiere production, The Further Adventures of Dick Piston Hotel Detective: Prague-nosis.

The title is lengthy but the play moves at a rapid clip and is full of hysterical dialogue and antics by the five characters.

The show opens with a spotlight on Dick Piston (Bill Taylor) dressed in a trench coat, fedora, and the proverbial cigarette clenched between his teeth. I borrowed the word proverbial from the play...if you see it you'll know what I mean. And I hope you do see this one, because it's one hilarious comedy based in the film-noir genre with Hotel Detective Dick Piston matching wits with beautiful women and strange men as he sets out to solve a case of the missing family jewels. Written by Jeff Goode, this hysterical show will truly have you laughing out loud from start to finish and it has a cliff-hanger ending every 10 minutes. There's nothing predictable about this tale... it surprises the audience throughout.

It's hard to imagine anyone other than Bill Taylor, the artistic director and founder of Theatre Conspiracy, in the role of Dick Piston. His dead-pan face and mannerisms made you think of everyone from Colombo to Inspector Clousseau to Joe Friday...and yet it was definitely his own interpretation of the character that made it work.

Let's meet the other characters. There's Pleasure Hello (Lisa Marie) who definitely gives a new spin to dying on stage; Misha Novakova, (Beth Ellege) ... now you see her...then you don't; Zing The Amazing, (Rob Ervin) ...if he says "amazing" one more time, Dick Piston may shoot the entire audience; And last, but not least, Havel Presley, (Clement Valentine) who just may be the illegitimate son of The King. Each actor plays their role to the hilt and seems to be having fun doing's a delight to watch them.

A question and answer period with the playwright after the show proved to be quite interesting. He said if you see the play a second time you'll catch things early on that were not obvious until the play ended.

Maybe you won't see it twice, but you owe it to yourself to take it in at least once. There's another episode of Dick Piston, an earlier one, and they may bring that back in August...I hope so.