Famed mystery writer Dorothy L. Sayers’ first book, “Whose Body?,” introduced both her and her part-Fred Astaire, part-Bertie Wooster gentleman detective Lord Peter Wimsey to hordes of readers who couldn’t wait to turn the page to find out whodunit. Lifeline Theatre is in the business of turning literary classics corporeal, and ensemble member Frances Limoncelli’s adaptation shows off her awarded flair. This remounting of Lifeline’s 2002 production is delicious in design and spirit.
A man, quite naked save for a pince-nez, is found in someone else’s bath. A prominent member of society is missing. The body in the bath isn’t society’s scion. Who is in the bath? Where is the Sir? The training hospital near the borrowed bath’s morgue’s tenants are all accounted for. Amateur detective Lord Peter to the rescue!
Director Jess Hutchinson’s ensemble of seven essay eighteen characters careening toward the denouement with a high level of success. John Drea, Joshua K. Harris, and Michaela Volt switch hats and accents in a flash of the eye, keeping the ever-quickening energy of the plot on trajectory. Tony Bozzuto’s Dr. Freke is as Professor Moriarty as you could wish. Scott Danielson’s man’s man Bunter channels Jeeves delightfully. Katie McLean Hainsworth’s Duchess is all fragile-appearing, steel-backboned British aristocracy. Hainsworth sets the standard. As always, her work is not to be missed.
William Anthony Sebastian Rose II carries the show on his shoulders. His Lord Wimsey will surely grow in confidence as he settles in. Limoncelli’s first act suffers from an extra ten minutes or so. Act two is a complete joy.
The star of the evening is Alan Donahue’s set. Economy itself, it changes a board here or there and transforms into different locales with aplomb, as easily as switching a body. (Aaron Hunt)
Lifeline Theatre, 6912 North Glenwood, (773)791-4477, lifelinetheatre.com, $45. Through October 27.