Bowie Community Theatre's presentation of "Dark Passages" marks the culmination of the company's 47th season. Under the guidance of President John Nunemaker, the lineup for this season has been a departure from past years in its concentration on largely undiscovered plays.
"Dark Passages," a work by mother and daughter playwriting team Jan Henson Dow and Shannon Michal Dow, with Robert Schroeder, became available for production in 2012.
Bowie's production has much to recommend it for adventurous theatergoers and mystery fans.
"Dark Passages" is an exciting work, building suspense through a series of speedy scene changes. The cast of seven seems dedicated to the "show must go on" maxim, together delivering credible performances. Contributing to this production's overall professionalism is a skilled production staff, which includes lighting designer Garrett Hyde, sound designer Dan Caughran, costumer Anne Hull and set designer Gerard Williams.
The mystery tells of graduate student and artist Bret Conway, who moves to an apartment to distance herself from her college professor boyfriend, Mark Ryder. Meanwhile, peeping Tom landlord Harold Lemb, who has a black nightgown fetish and a secret passage behind a mirror, is watching their relationship implode.
Mark suspects Bret is attracted to fellow artist neighbor Eric, who actually tries to calm Bret's fears over the mysterious disappearance of close friends Sandy and Gillian. Enter Russell Craig, a detective with a haunted past who grows obsessed as he investigates the disappearances. A series of twists and turns increases confusion as our suspicion focuses on possible killers.
Amanda Magoffin is a standout in the central role of Bret, while Scott Beadle is decidedly creepy as Harold Lemb and James McDaniel is convincingly brash as Detective Craig. Most notably, Pat Reynolds, as Mark, beguiles and intrigues us throughout. Rounding out the cast are Matt Leyendecker as Eric; Chrisshall Daniel as Sandy and Lenora Spahn as Gillian.
The show is directed by the company's board of directors instead of by a single director — a commendable group effort, although it results in somewhat uneven performances.
"Dark Passages" continues at Bowie Playhouse in White Marsh Park, 16500 White Marsh Park Drive, on Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. through March 16. Tickets are $20 for adults and $15 for students and seniors, and can be purchased online at bctheatre.com or by calling 301-805-0219.