There’s Something Afoot at This (A-List) Party

A top-notch cast and great visuals lead this goofy comedy. Something’s Afoot performs at The 5th Avenue Theatre through March 24. 

The 5th’s Rising Star Project teen artists take on the show afterwards, performing April 11-13. 


Welcome, honored guest, to Rancour Mansion, where dinner will be served presently (in theory) and murder lurks behind every door.

Before you arrive at this fête, you should know two things that Something’s Afoot is not: a well-strung mystery and a particularly good musical. And while the dinner spread never does come out, this party boasts three good reasons to show up anyway: easy laughs, great visuals, and an all-star cast laced with Seattle favorites (and maybe a little arsenic).

The visual grandeur is obvious before the show begins, as a ghostly but inviting mansion exterior beckons from the curtain. Scenic designer Carey Wong delivers big throughout the show; and when the curtain opens, we’re brought inside a huge old house that’s no doubt full of drafty rooms with no purpose, save for an army of feather dusters. The grand room’s many adornments are sinister in the context of this tale. Which will come to life (or bring death) among the ominous wall of spears, the out-of-place suit of armor, the towering portraits, and the focal-point fireplace? Costuming from Deborah Trout makes the unwitting suspects look right at home amidst the finery.

Sarah Rudinoff leads the way as the notoriously nosy self-appointed investigator Miss Tweed (who, befitting the name, is garbed in garish primary-colored layers of the stuff). It’s always a treat to catch musical theatre veteran Rudinoff, whose commitments range from rock albums to real estate, leaping back onto the stage; and there’s no rust on her performance here. The cast joining her at this motley dinner party includes many familiar faces for 5th-goers: Anne Allgood, Allen Fitzpatrick, Ashley Lanyon, Brandon O’Neill, Yusef Seevers, Porscha Shaw, Adam Standley, Jonathan Luke Stevens, and Jason Weitkamp; and understudies Harter Clingman, Cassi Q Kohl, Bianca Raso, Jonathon Royse (5th debut), and Karen Skrinde.

That cast is really the reason to catch this show. If you already love Allgood, her commitment here to some rather shocking results will grab you. Fitzpatrick’s ab strength at a defining moment is impressive on any level. Great pairings, of humans and inanimate objects alike — Standley with a chair, Rudinoff with Allgood (and the spears), Lanyon with Stevens — make for some stand-out moments. And there’s something uniquely enjoyable about watching this serious cast be total goofballs with flawless timing.

That said, if your stake in the cast members is low, you’ll probably find this nonsensical whodunit a lot less amusing. And if you’re on the hunt for a Big Serious Musical, this isn’t the show for you.

Something’s Afoot is a light-hearted spoof — of Agatha Christie mysteries and numerous others — that feels something like a blend of Clue caricatures and Noises Off confusion (sub in chamber pots for the sardines), laced with a dash of Arsenic and Old Lace and a heavy shake of nice but forgettable music.

It’s also two hours of easy laughter. And sometimes that’s all you need.


‘Something’s Afoot’ book, music, and lyrics by James McDonald, David Vos, and Robert Gerlach; additional music by Ed Linderman. Directed by Bill Berry; music directed by Beth G. Tankersley. Choreographed by Jimmy Shields. 

Something’s Afoot runs through 3/24 at The 5th Avenue Theatre in Downtown Seattle. Tickets ($49+) hereAccessibility notes: basement restrooms are gender-neutral and multi-stall; all other restrooms are gendered and multi-stall. Theatre and some common areas are wheelchair accessible. ASL interpreted and open-captioned performance on 3/24 (matinee); additional open-captioned performance on 3/15 (evening); audio-described performance on 3/23 (matinee). See notes on ticketing page for more information. Financial accessibility note: $30 rush tickets for most sections (same-day, in-person) offered for all performances when available.

Something’s Afoot: Rising Star Project runs 4/11-13; program info and tickets ($35) here.

Run time: 2 hours 5 minutes, with intermission.

Chase D. Anderson is Editor & Producer of