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Villain: DeBlanks

This funny and entertaining improvisational murder mystery is based on Mad Libs and is performed by a rotating cast of lively NYC notables at a cabaret.

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Villain: DeBlanks January 3 cast: (clockwise from left): Ann Harada, Nick Cearley, Angela Robinson, Adam Feldman, Molly Pope and Jeff Hiller

“Villain: DeBlanks” January 3 cast: (clockwise from left): Ann Harada, Nick Cearley, Angela Robinson, Adam Feldman, Molly Pope and Jeff Hiller

Darryl Reilly

Darryl Reilly, Critic

Performed monthly at The Triad cabaret by a lively cast of New York City notables, Villain: DeBlanks is a wacky murder mystery where the audience votes on the identity of the killer. The structure of the show is derived from Mad Libs.  That enduring party game involves participants supplying the missing words of a short story they haven’t read by being asked for a variety of nouns, adjectives and verbs with comical results.

Creator and writer Billy Mitchell has crafted a goofy Clue-style whodunit about the murder of the wealthy Phillip DeBlanks with six daffy suspects including “Bob Frapples,” “Rhonda Pony” and “Orson Buggy.” A movie producer, an actress and the deceased’s fiancée are among the broad characters possibly involved in the crime.

The personable Mr. Mitchell is the evening’s host and starts off the show by explaining the format.  The six performers then go through the theater asking audience members for missing words that they then write in their scripts.  After obtaining this material they then go onstage to sit in chairs with music stands on which they place their scripts and read from.  For just over thirty minutes, they enact this silly and entertaining murder investigation with often funny results.”

Heather Shisler and Barrett Foa in a scene from “Villain: De Blanks” (Photo credit: Michael Hull)

Heather Shisler and Barrett Foa in a scene from “Villain: De Blanks” (Photo credit: Michael Hull)

The cast on January 3, 2016 was made up of Ann Harada who has appeared on Broadway in Avenue Q and Cinderella, Nick Cearley of the band The Skivvies, Angela Robinson who appears in Tyler Perry’s television show The Haves and The Have Nots, Time Out NY theater critic Adam Feldman, and acclaimed cabaret performer Molly Pope.  They were all charming and all provided suitably over-the-top characterizations for their roles.  The sixth cast member was the bespectacled and frantic comedian and actor Jeff Hiller who stole the show with his uproarious Cockney-accented chauffeur suspect.

After the conclusion of the narrative, the evening’s “Special Media Guest” Theater People podcaster Patrick Hinds played a game with the cast where they had to answer mystery questions about each other.  Then the audience’s ballots were counted and the murderer was revealed.

Lasting just over an hour, Villain: DeBlanks is good-natured communal entertainment and proceeds from the show go to charities such as The Humane Society.

Villain: DeBlanks (Sundays at 7:30 PM, February 7, March 6 and April 3, 2016)

The Triad, 158 West 72nd Street, in Manhattan

For tickets, call 212-362-2590 or visit http://www.villaindeblanks.com

Running time: 75 minutes with no intermission

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Darryl Reilly
About Darryl Reilly (696 Articles)
A native New Yorker, Darryl Reilly graduated from NYU with a BFA in Cinema Studies. For the Broadway League, (formerly The League of American Theatres and Producers) he developed, and for five years conducted their Broadway Open House Tours, which took visitors through The Theatre District and into several Broadway theaters. He contributed to Broadway Musicals Show by Show: Sixth Edition (Applause Books). Since 2013, he has reviewed theater, cabaret, and concerts for Theaterscene.net.

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