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'The Red Box' is a classic mystery tale

Helen Frost, played by Laini Devin, is interviewed by private detective Nero Wolfe, played by Scott Peterson in "The Red Box" at The Phipps. The play follows Wolfe as he investigates the death of a model by poisoned candy. Rebecca Mariscal / RiverTown Multimedia1 / 4
Helen Frost, played by Laini Devin, tells detective Nero Wolfe of a dream she has as the detective tries to determine her role in a murder in "The Red Box." The Phipps production runs through June 17. Rebecca Mariscal / RiverTown Multimedia2 / 4
Private detective Nero Wolfe, played by Scott Peterson, thinks on the case in "The Red Box" at The Phipps. The play is a murder mystery. Rebecca Mariscal / RiverTown Multimedia3 / 4
Archie Goodwin, played by Andrew Robertson, has a confrontation with Inspector Cramer, played by Kevin Christensen during the investigation of a death in "The Red Box." The play premiered June 1 at The Phipps. Rebecca Mariscal / RiverTown Multimedia4 / 4

Fans of the murder mystery genre will find lots to love in the The Phipps' presentation of "The Red Box," a tale that gives off classic detective vibes ala Sherlock Holmes and Agatha Christie.

The production follows author Rex Stout's 1930s private detective Nero Wolfe, a clever and impressive mind with a few peculiarities, and his right-hand man Archie Goodwin as they try to solve the case of a model killed by a piece of poisoned candy.

Wolfe is brought to life by Scott Peterson who portrays the character's eccentricities well, allowing the audience to feel the awkwardness and confusion that often arises from them. Goodwin, played by Andrew Robertson, in turn serves as the audience's narrator, both filling in on the behavior of his companion, and sharing in the ignorance of Wolfe's thoughts on the case.

Surrounding the case are a cast of characters with deep connections to one another, and their own individual motivations and secrets that Wolfe, with the help of Goodwin, works to reveal. From the stubborn lady Helen Frost, played by Laini Devin, to the very French Rene Gebert, played by Jack Clauss, those connected to the case move from witness to suspect and back again. Andrew Rosdail, Lela Olson, Mke Brown, Tom Monn, and Kevin Christensen round out the cast, bringing to life their characters with plenty of drama and a dose of humor.

It all unfolds in Wolfe's office, as this armchair detective rarely leaves his home. The intricately-designed set looks as if it's been pulled from the pages of a detective novel. Wolfe's office comes to life with rich details, from the books on the shelf to the suit of armor in the corner. The set exudes the elegance and reserve of its intended resident.

The costumes further showcase just how professional a Phipps production is. From the pristine suits to the beautiful dresses, the wardrobe helps bring the audience into the 1930s setting.

"The Red Box" runs through June 17 with performances at 7:30 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays and 2:30 p.m. on Sundays. Tickets are $26 for adults and $19 for students, with a $2 discount for seniors on the Sunday matinees.

Rebecca Mariscal

Rebecca Mariscal joined the Hudson Star Observer as a reporter in 2016. She graduated from the University of St. Thomas with a degree in communication and journalism. 

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