Locally Written Murder Mystery ‘I Bet It Was the Butler’ to Be Staged at the Grand Theatre

Rebecca Mennecke, photos by Andrea Paulseth

THE TWO JA(C)K(E)S. Cast member Jack Ross, left, and Jake Pritchard rehearse a scene from Speck of Dust Theatre Company’s production of a new locally written play, I Bet it was the Butler, at the Grand Theatre.
THE TWO JA(C)K(E)S. Cast member Jack Ross, left, and Jake Pritchard rehearse a scene from Speck of Dust Theatre Company’s production of a new locally written play, I Bet it was the Butler, at the Grand Theatre.

Someone has murdered Mr. Worthington. He had just rewritten his will, and it’s missing. The question is: whodunit? 

That’s the plot of the Speck of Dust Theatre Company’s production of I Bet it was the Butler, written by local playwright Alex Brandt, which will be staged at The Grand Theatre Aug. 16-18. 

“Everyone is pretty suspicious,” said Tabitha Tatro, who plays the character Beatrice and is the costume designer for the performance. “It’s just finding out who is the most suspicious.” 

Of all the characters – Winston, Beatrice, Ethel, Price, Banks, and Taylor – it could have been anyone. Each of the characters has a trope, which the director, Logan Toftness, and the actors have twisted and turned against the traditional archetypes of a mystery comedy so the audience will never really know what to expect. 

“You don’t know if they’re going to go with the obvious choice, just because that might be funny,” said Jake Pritchard, who plays Winston, “or if they’re going to turn it completely on its head, because that would also be funny.” 

One of the obvious choices seems to be Winston, the creepy butler, whom Prichard plays. 

“Winston is an odd fellow,” Pritchard said. “You never really know where he is or (where) he’s going to come from. And you almost never want him to.” 

But, it could also be the “senile old maid,” Beatrice, who is terrible at everything, Tatro said. Or the late Mr. Worthington’s nurse, Price, who is a “naïve, hunky little snack,” said Jack Ross, who plays the character. It could also be Mrs. Ethel Worthington, played by Cole Stephens, who gets angry when things aren’t done her way. It could be anyone. 

It’s a performance you’ll want to return to, said Autumn Ament, who plays Banks. That way, you can catch onto the strands of storyline to figure out who murdered Mr. Worthington earlier on in the play. 

“You could make a whole weekend of it,” she said. 

It’s very much like the popular board game and film, Clue, the cast said. This murder mystery comedy has a lot of twists and turns and detail drops that keep the audience on their toes, Ament said. The show’s humor is dark, tongue-in-cheek, and involves a lot of physical or action-based gags. 

“It makes you bust out laughing in some of the darkest moments,” she said. 

There’s also a little bit of romance, making it more of a murder-mystery-comedy-romance performance, Ament said. 

As an added bonus, it’s all local, said Dennis Friedrichsen, the stage manager. The actors, the playwright, and everyone involved has ties to Eau Claire. 


Performances of I Bet it was the Butler are at 7:30pm on Friday, Aug. 16, and Saturday, Aug. 17, and at 1:30pm on Sunday, Aug. 18, at The Grand Theatre, 102 W. Grand Ave., Eau Claire. Tickets are $15 and can be purchased at brownpapertickets.com

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