Cody Taylor and Chris Arthurs of the Portal Players Dramatic Society rehearse a scene from Shadow of Murder. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)

Shadow of Murder opens Feb. 21 at Capitol Theatre in Port Alberni

Classic whodunit comes from Canadian playwright Elizabeth Elwood

People are not always who they seem to be.

That’s the theme behind the newest production presented by the Portal Players Dramatic Society at the Capitol Theatre in Port Alberni. Shadow of Murder, directed by Jacqollyne Keath, is scheduled to open on Friday, Feb. 21.

The story takes place at a secluded hunting lodge in the Lower Mainland. A gathering becomes a deadly game of cat and mouse as guests realize that someone in their midst is connected to a murder that happened two decades ago.

Tensions rise as a storm brews and causes landslides, rendering the access road impassable. Before long, another murder takes place.

Shadow of Murder was written by Canadian playwright Elizabeth Elwood in 2011. Keath, who knows Elwood well from her days in the Lower Mainland, pitched the story to the Portal Players.

“We hadn’t done a mystery in a while,” said producer Nicole Saugstad. “We liked that it was set in a hunting lodge. We thought it fit with Port Alberni.”

Elwood herself will be making an appearance at the Capitol Theatre during one of the shows.

The set design has been “a labour of love,” said Saugstaud, with volunteers collaborating to transform the theatre stage into a hunting lodge, complete with animal trophies. The cast includes a good mix of newcomers and familiar faces for theatre fans in the Alberni Valley. Auditions took place in the fall of 2019 and drew the largest turnout in years for male characters.

Now, after months of rehearsals, the show is ready to open.

Those involved in the show aren’t revealing too much about the plot or the characters, but viewers can expect plenty of twists and turns.

“For people who like to figure out whodunits, it’s going to be hard for them to figure out who the murderer is,” Keath hinted.

The show opens on Friday, Feb. 21 and runs every Friday and Saturday until March 14. All shows start at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are available in advance at the theatre box office, at the Rollin Art Centre or online at Tickets can also be purchased at the door.

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Cody Taylor and Bonnie Kemble of the Portal Players Dramatic Society rehearse a scene from Shadow of Murder. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)

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