‘Final Cut’: A fun whodunnit with a memorable cast

“Final Cut” is a fun show that sets itself apart with a great cast and interactive aspects.

The performance took place on Nov. 10 at The Vinewood in Topeka.

The show is billed as an interactive muder mystery. The original script template was written by Susan Haley of Haley Productions and the final script is credited to director Jane Elliott and an ensemble of others. “Final Cut” is essentially about a group of actors and other Hollywood types in a “bottle” setting (meaning in one general confined area), when a number of the characters are murdered. The rest of the characters argue along the way about various Hollywood things and try to figure out which one of them killed theothers, in classic whodunit fashion.

The interactive part of the show was done in the form of audience members actively being on the stage, sitting at tables (as the setting of the story takes place and incorporates where the audience participating members are) and by cast members involving consenting audience members into the story.  

The main cast consisted of Drew Bosack, who portrays “Eddie Cheek,” a film director that is meant to be one of the Bryan Singer/Weinstein types. Elly Sharemet portrays “Nova Devoe,” an Vaudeville-esque actor, and CJ Williams-Herrera who portrays “Rock Stud,” the straight man of the group. These are among many others who all deserve credit for their hard work.

One thing I found interesting about the play was the mix of characters. Some were given that sort of Broadway acting that is supposed to be less believable because they talk at you instead of to you. Other characters had more eemotion that the audience could connect to, particularly Williams-Herrera’s “Rock,” Gabby Singleterry’s “Cherry,” and Chelsey Jenkin’s “Billie.” It’s an interesting mix of characters that added to the story.

This mix isn’t a bad thing. I always love the Broadway old style acting and it was definitely used for a comedic effect with the less outlandish sounding characters. For instance, Scott Frost’s “Quinnie” or Hannah Kirby and Reagan Propps’ “Anita and Liza,” or Xiaojing Sun’s “Glitzy” interacting with more deadpan and relatable characters like Dr. Feelings (Justine Frakes), Chelsey Jenkins’ Billie “Club,” or Pari Joshy’s “Allia” and Avery Weishaar’s “Sam.”

The only real problems I had with the show was the script. A few of the jokes didn’t completely land, although something like comedy is entirely subjective and varies from person to person. 

That criticism being noted, there were great bits as well. I particularly loved Stormy Lukasavage’s “Smokey” as a sort of mix between a Bond villain goon like OddJob or something with just a dash of Snake Plissken. I loved the physicality and outlandishness the character had. Williams-Herrera’s character and his straight man/serious guy nature lent itself perfectly to outlandish characters and definitely made me smile. 

The other problem I have, again entirely subjective, is the character of Eddie. He is definitely written to be an unlikable character, but there is an attempt of humanization to his pretty villainous character that I’m really not sure if I actually like or not. Nonetheless, I think Bosack did a wonderful job on the character, even with my conflicting thought.

Overall, “Final Cut” was most definitely a fun time. The cast in its entirety was excellent, and I loved the mix of outlandish, unlikable and normal characters that the show had. I would say it is a testament in the show’s favor to note that the little problems I did have were subjective and the interactive bits sprinkled in really made it even more fun to see. It was more of a one-of-a-kind experience, certainly unique to the shows I have seen over the years. Involving the audience in the show enhanced the experience.