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Captivating 'Witness' At TheatreWorks New Milford

By Elizabeth Young, Newtown Bee


Witness for the Prosecution, Agatha Christie’s British-style crime drama, with its incumbent dry humor and thrilling twists, is onstage at TheatreWorks New Milford, where nothing is as it seems and no one can be trusted in this captivating courtroom saga.

The very earnest and vulnerable Leonard Vole (Dan Basiletti) has been charged with the murder of his elderly friend, Emily French, a wealthy widow who had grown fond of Leonard. So fond that she has left him her entire estate in her will. Leonard liked spending time with Emily, and even his wife, Romaine (Thursday Savage), approved, although the two never met.

When the victim is found bleeding on the carpet in her London home, all signs seem to implicate Leonard, who is beyond flustered. Through his attorney, Mr Mayhew (Rob Pawlikowski), Leonard comes under the wing of legal eagle Sir Wilfrid Robarts, QC (Jonathan Jacobsen).

Opposing counsel, Mr Myers, QC (Timothy Huber), sets a furious tone in the courtroom, as Mr Vole’s palpable angst is on display. Leaving the defendant little wiggle room, Sir Robarts fight valiantly in hopes of an acquittal.

The plot thickens and writhes until it boils over within the confines of the court room, which is excellently rendered by Leif Smith. There was no escaping the truth.

This production is well-served by some truly standout performances in the main roles and supported by solid performances in the smaller roles.

Bewildered and grieving, Daniel Basiletti is just terrific as the accused. He practically leaps from the defendant’s box in response to the claims being made against him.

Mr Basiletti’s every nerve appears to be firing in response to his circumstances, as does barrister for the prosecution, Timothy Huber. His Mr Myers is all bluster and loaded for bear. He is determined to place this case in his win column and nothing, not even his wig tic, will stop him.

Tim Huber is a terrific comedic actor, and he completely captures the sputtering silliness of his character when pressed.

Thursday Savage’s Romaine is steady and determined. She maintains her composure with defiance and a stubbornness that is completely entertaining.

Likewise with Maureen Sheehan’s portrayal of Janet Mackenzie, a longtime aide to the deceased. The authenticity of her character is humorous in its intensity. Both of these actors do an excellent job with their roles.

An absolutely powerhouse performance by Jonathan Jacobson is on full display. His rendition of the lawyer facing significant headwinds is thorough as he sees this case to its end.

Director Frank Arcaro has milked every moment of suspense from the script and guided the actors through the tangles of this mystery. It is a job very well done.

Catch this twisting tale of intrigue while you can, then mum’s the word! For a fabulous evening of theater, Witness for the Prosecution will keep you on the edge of your seat.

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