Oh, Horrors! It’s Murder! showcases mystery beyond the stage

The museum comes alive for ZAP! Theatre’s latest production Oh, Horrors! It’s Murder!

The museum comes alive for ZAP! Theatre’s latest production Oh, Horrors! It’s Murder!

The well-seasoned cast will take audiences on a family-friendly adventure through the wonderfully fascinating and spooky world of the musical murder mystery.

Oh, Horrors! It’s Murder! plays at the beginning of May and the Central Alberta-based theatre group is busy putting the finishing touches on the production.

“It’s very much a murder mystery,” explains ZAP! Theatre General Manager and Director Daniel Allers during a rehearsal on April 18th. “It’s very much a musical and it’s very much a comedy.”

In this production, the audience will act as mere observers, watching the mystery unfold right before their eyes. Even as they first enter the venue, they will be transported directly into the setting, being truly immersed into the world and atmosphere of the museum, setting the stage for the show.

“Basically, we take you to the Hamilton Museum, where there is a series of displays going on,” explains Allers. “You are here for a lecture by Dr. Dirk Carlton, who has discovered a famous Egyptian tomb. He is going to reveal for the first time the artifacts. All is well until he starts speaking, the lights go out and he is found dead. And then all the calamity that ensues in figuring out ‘who done it’.”

The cast of 13, along with the many behind the scenes crewmembers, have been rehearsing since January. Allers chose this production to add variety to ZAP! Theatre’s growing list of quality productions, he said.

“We have done so many different varieties of plays over four years,” he said. “So we picked this. It has sort of been in our back pocket.

“Murder mysteries are always really popular because people like coming and trying to figure out who did it. So we have a great time with that.”

In his directorial debut, Allers has been granted some artistic freedom, truly making the eerie production his own.

“This is everyone’s primary outlet and we always try and stretch the envelope to find something new to do,” said Allers. “Every production we have done has been absolutely stellar. To be able to try and maintain that — to not just do something that is fun and enjoyable, but also has that part where you say, ‘I haven’t seen that before,’ that’s what every director’s dream is, to do something different.”

For Allers, who started ZAP! Theatre four years ago, and the cast, the production company has become so much more than just an opportunity to hone their talents on stage. “We started this to maintain friendships, build skills and offer family-friendly entertainment for Central Alberta,” he said.

All of the costs of the production are directly covered by the cast itself, allowing every penny raised throughout the run of the show to go towards the charity project they have selected and supported over the past years, an orphanage in Tanzania.

Amberly Bootsman, originally from Ponoka, who’s been with the company since day one, said she was slightly dismayed when she graduated from other theatre programs and didn’t have an outlet to channel her passion. “I was quite excited when Daniel got ZAP! together and to be involved again,” she said. “It’s really a great community on stage and off.”

“We had actors who love to act but had no opportunity to do so anymore, so this was both started as an opportunity to do that and to also have another fundraiser each year,” said Allers of ZAP! Theatre’s purpose and support of the orphanage.

Ben Butcher, of Lacombe, said the cast and ZAP! Theatre has become like a family to him. “It’s more than just theatre,” he said. “I like the fact that it’s actually doing some good in the world.”

Oh, Horrors! It’s Murder! plays May 1st at 7 p.m., May 2nd at 1:30 p.m. and 7 p.m., May 8th at 7 p.m. and May 9th at 1:30 p.m. and 7 p.m.

Performances are at Asker Lutheran Church, east of Ponoka on Hwy. 53 and north on RR 23-2. Doors open half an hour before showtime.

Admission is by a free-will offering. All proceeds raised will go towards supporting the Christian Life Orphanage located in Mwanza, Tanzania.

For more information about Oh, Horrors! It’s Murder! or ZAP! Theatre, contact Allers at 403-348-1891 or email