Review: Downstage Dead by Bevan Amberhill

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Downstage Dead by Bevan Amberhill (cover)

Downstage Dead by Bevan Amberhill
The Pasdeloup Press
ISBN: 0920214096

Downstage Dead by Bevan Amberhill is a marvelous book which I highly recommend.

The protagonist Jean-Claude Keyes, amateur sleuth, author and reviewer of books and plays, is thoroughly likable. Several deaths in this Canadian town of Stratford during rehearsal of a modern rewrite by lovely Kaylynn Dionne of Bram Stoker’s Dracula bring in the local police to work the case with able help from Keyes. Deaths include the sister of Kaylynn among the actors and actresses also killed.

Every word in this book is chosen with care; every line is well-written. This is a book where you want to share every line as you read it! The words sparkle with gentle wit, and the plots and sub-plots keep you hooked. All the characters are well-drawn, and the main characters of Keyes, his elderly mentor/friend, famous actor Seamus O’Reilly, the playwright and fledgling director Kaylynn Dionne, and the town’s quirky alcoholic psychologist (once mixologist to rats and chimps!) are all thoroughly believable and engaging. One amusing sub-plot is the renovation of  Keyes’ home, ongoing and…ongoing.

This is a gem of a book, and I can’t  wait for the next one featuring Keyes as sleuth. Great stuff!

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posted by Jill Librarian

28 comments; 0 subscribers

Tuesday, January 15, 2008 / 19:42:53
Tell us about your favorite play (leave a comment below). That's all you have to do to win. All entries must be received by the end of January 29, 2008, PST. One entry will be selected randomly to win our review copy of "Downstage Dead". (Open to US/Canada residents only.)
Tuesday, January 15, 2008 / 21:54:39
I'm far from an expert on plays, but La vida es sueño by Calderón de la Barca (which I've only read, not seen) is great. It rivals any Shakespeare play for depth and language play and entertainment in its account of Segismundo, who's been raised in isolation. In college I saw an excellent English-language adaptation of it, not a straight translation but a great interpretation of it.

"What is life? A frenzy. / What is life? An illusion, / A shadow, a fiction, / And the greatest profit is small; / For all of life is a dream, / And dreams, are nothing but dreams." (not my translation)

Rather more absurd, and more recent, I love the frantic search for the proper place in their book by the characters in Sam Shepard's Action.
Wednesday, January 16, 2008 / 08:37:24
I must say I still like the clasics like romeo and juliet
Wednesday, January 16, 2008 / 10:44:07
I have done a lot of community theater, and my favorite was One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest!
Wednesday, January 16, 2008 / 11:24:24
Anything by Shakespeare
Wednesday, January 16, 2008 / 18:41:25
Arsenic and Old Lace is a great play that's been around for a while. It follows the tale of a young man who returns home to get married and finds that everything he thought he knew was wrong. A house full of murderers and a basement full of bodies makes for a belly full of laughs.
Wednesday, January 16, 2008 / 19:14:57
very much a toss-up -- either Cyrano de Bergerac by Edmond Rostand or Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead by Tom Stoppard. Hard call.
Thursday, January 17, 2008 / 09:29:51
Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead. I still have fond memories of a college paper I wrote on it.
Thursday, January 17, 2008 / 12:54:42
I loved Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead. I saw it as an off-Broadway production in New York and found it hilarious and riveting
Thursday, January 17, 2008 / 13:32:36
I think my favorite is 12th night.
Thursday, January 17, 2008 / 16:31:24
Arsenic and Old Lace
Thursday, January 17, 2008 / 18:13:30
Arsenic and Old Lace
Saturday, January 19, 2008 / 15:29:10
My favorite play is Cloud 9 by Caryl Churchill. It's the first play I saw that really floored me. I was in my early 20's and that was the first time I knew the power of live theater.
Sunday, January 20, 2008 / 21:35:39
The Twelfth Night (is that the right name) by Shakespeare. The comedy in which the twins think each other is dead and the one pretends to be a guy so she can get a job working for the king and ends up falling in love with the king or prince or something like that.
Monday, January 21, 2008 / 14:53:31
My favorite play is Wit by Margaret Edson.
Monday, January 21, 2008 / 18:08:41
fiddler on the roof
Monday, January 21, 2008 / 19:14:11
My favorite was the "King and I". then "West Side Story" and "Hello Dolly".
Wednesday, January 23, 2008 / 09:05:15
King Lear
Saturday, January 26, 2008 / 07:39:30
My favorite has to be Julius Caeser - "beware the ides of March!!"
Sunday, January 27, 2008 / 11:20:05
I love the classic Romeo and Juliet.
Sunday, January 27, 2008 / 13:47:39
Romeo and Juliet is one of my favorites.
Monday, January 28, 2008 / 05:26:04
I really loved Wicked and Jersey Boys. As far as plays without music, I loved Twelfth Night and Romeo and Juliet.
Monday, January 28, 2008 / 15:53:05
I loved Wicked!
Monday, January 28, 2008 / 22:00:07
I love Oscar Wilde's "The Importance of Being Earnest."
Tuesday, January 29, 2008 / 11:57:20
I have too many favorites. I love Romeo and Juliet, 12th Night, Fiddler on the Roof, A Chorus Line, and especially Nutcracker!
Tuesday, January 29, 2008 / 19:48:39
I would have to say that Romeo and Juliet is one of my favorites.
Tuesday, January 29, 2008 / 20:10:28
I loved CATS!my favorite
Wednesday, January 30, 2008 / 15:36:36
Out of the valid entries, our random number generator selects gifford. Thank you all for participating, and I do hope you check out a copy of the book. Also, check back as we periodically post new reviews/raffles/prize draws. There's almost always at least one running!

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