Curtain Call: Kiss Me, Deadly
For those with a penchant for both the dramatic and the hilarious, John A. Logan College offers a taste of old Hollywood glamor and the suspense of a private-eye adventure with a hilariously lethal tale of suspense, corruption, theft, and murder. Kill Me, Deadly runs on the stage of Logan's O'Neil Auditorium Friday and Saturday, November 19 and 20.
Directed by Steve Falcone, Kill Me, Deadly is a side-splitting parody of film-noir private-eye films, which reached the peak of their popularity in the 1940s and 1950s. The script parodies the title of the 1950s black-and-white detective classic Kiss Me, Deadly, which popularized the fictional private eye Mike Hammer and featured legendary actress Cloris Leachman in her first film role.
Set in 1940s Hollywood, the film spoof is written by comedic playwright William Robens, whose previous work includes parodies of both classic novels (A Mulholland Christmas Carol) and films (The Poseidon Adventure: The Musical, The Towering Inferno: The Musical). Robens now puts the trenchcoat-wearing gumshoe into the hotseat and spotlight, putting a humorous spin on one of classic film's favorite archetypes.
At the center of the tale is weary private eye Charlie Nickels, who has made a meager career out of chasing thugs and skirts around the streets of Los Angeles, assisted by his gal Friday, the witty and always resourceful Ida. Audiences can practically hear the lonely strains of Harlem Nocturne as the inevitable, beautiful dame with mile-long gams saunters in to Charlie's office and life, begging for help. Enter the glamorous Lady Clairmont. Summoning Charlie to her lavish L.A. mansion, Lady Clairmont retains the detective's services, revealing that she has recently received a death threat in the mail.
As Nickels begins to ask himself who would want to kill her and why, suspicion immediately falls upon Clairmont's vexing, voluptuous daughter and her awkward, browbeaten son, both of whom keep constant eyes (along with the eyes of Lady Clairmont's mysterious butler, Wilson) on their mother's famous (and famously cursed) three-hundred carat Bengal diamond.
When Lady Clairmont meets her inevitable and untimely mysterious death, Charlie begins to chase the mystery from the flashy neighborhoods of Beverly Hills to the dangerous, shadowy backstreets of Mulholland Drive in search of the killer. Nickels's suspicion of Wilson, after pursuing a string of dead-end leads, brings him to a mysterious lady in red, who turns out to be none other than the infamous Mona, a waitress in a diner where the private eye often passes lonely hours and endless cups of coffee. As Nickels attempts to get closer to the long-legged, low-voiced femme fatale, he finds himself falling further and further under her spell. As he gets closer to the truth, Charlie begins to feel the heat, as the killer and diamond thief gets closer to him with a string of bodies left from one end of Hollywood to the other. Will the private eye be able to unravel the case before his time runs out, or will the hypnotic spell of the Hollywood dame be his undoing?
Tickets are $12 and $5, and are available by calling the O'Neil Auditorium box office at (618) 985-2828 ext. 8287. For more about Kill Me, Deadly, visit <http://www.jalc.edu>.
who: John A. Logan College Humanities Department
what: Kiss Me, Deadly (live theater)
where: O'Neil Auditorium
when: Friday and Saturday, November 19 and 20