Spy farce ‘Red Herring’ opening at Stage Coach

Published: Thursday, July 18, 2013 5:30 a.m.CDT

Stage Coach Players will present “Red Herring,” the zany spy farce by award-winning playwright Michael Hollinger, this weekend.

Directed by Bernie Schuneman with stage manager Jan Booth, the play spoofs Red Scare-era politics and culture, sending up everything from the H-bomb to Joseph McCarthy’s daughter. It uses the standard cliches of the noir detective story – a hard-boiled, hard-drinking detective, down on his luck; a sadder-but-wiser love interest, beautiful but hard-bitten; a fiendish criminal; and an indifferent bureaucratic police force.

Set in 1952, in the days leading up to Dwight D. Eisenhower’s election, the play focuses on three couples: FBI agent Frank Keller (Mike Scorzo) and detective Maggie Pelletier (Shela Lahey); nuclear-weapons expert James Appel (Jim Hendricks) and Sen. Joe McCarthy’s daughter Lynn McCarthy (Ellen Pudney); and Russian spy Andrei Borchevsky (Richard Christensen) and kooky landlady Mrs. Kravitz (D’Ann Hamilton). All three couples struggle to get through a series of tumultuous relationship issues amid a murder mystery and an espionage drama. Lynn McCarthy struggles through her relationship with very little help from Mrs. McCarthy (Gina Palmer).

“I don’t remember the Cold War being so funny,” Schuneman said. “The play is witty, fast paced and intelligent – all major assets in a successful comedy.”

Performances are at 7:30 p.m. today, Friday and Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday at Stage Coach Players Theater, 126 S. Fifth St. in DeKalb. For more information, visit www.stagecoachers.com. Tickets are available online, at the theater or by phone at 815-758-1940.

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