The Bat1

The Bat – Elaborately staged at NTC by Clay David

Elaborately staged at NTC by Clay David

Novato Theater Company is currently presenting The Bat by Mary Roberts Rinehart and Avery Hopwood from February 8 through March 1, 2015.  It is directed by award-winning Director Clay David and produced by Sandi RubayThe Bat is a murder-mystery-thriller, originally set in 1927, but for this production it is 1954.

When wealthy Cornelia Von Gorder (Leslie Klor), along with her ditsy secretary Lizzy (Marilyn Hughes), rents an isolated mansion called Cedar Crest, having belonged to the Fleming family, she finds herself terrorized by mysterious circumstances.  Lizzy is sure it’s a ghost or the criminal “The Bat,” and the house mistress Willa (Siobhan O’Brien) agrees with them.

The audience and houseful of suspects (who all have reasons to lie), soon learn that only Jack Brooks (played by Director Clay David on the spot) is suspected of stealing money in the house and being secretly engaged to Dale (Arden Kilzer), Cornelia’s niece.  Then there is discovered the body of Ashley Fleming (Alison Sacha-Ross), the founder and owner of the bank and Cedar Crest.  Ashley had presumably been declared dead by Dr. Wells (Michael Walraven).

Everyone, including Fleming’s friend Reginald Beresford (Sumi Narendran) is trying to find the secret room where Cornelia is sure the stolen money is hidden.  Detective Anderson (John Conway) seems determined to disregard Cornelia’s amateur instincts and put down poor Lizzy.  Red herrings and wrong turns abound – though if you look for the not-so-obvious, you’ll have the answer.

Director Clay David was able to generate great acting performances from his talented cast.  This should certainly be a feather in his cap.  NTC is so lucky to have engaged such a talented Director.

The Set Designer, Michael Walraven, did a fabulous job of recreating the time-period, as did the Costume Designers Paula Aiello and Clay DavidBruce Vieira’s Sound Design enhanced the performance, as did Ellen Brooks’ Lighting Design.  Adrianne Goff managed the stage.

Performances are at the NTC Playhouse, 5420 Nave Drive, Suite C, Novato, and are held Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. through March 1st.  For tickets, call 415-883-4498 or go online at

Coming up next at NTC will be Fiddler on the Roof, music by Jerry Bock, lyrics by Sheldon Harnick, and book by Joseph Stein, from March 26 through April 26, 2015.

Flora Lynn Isaacson

Photo by Wendell H. Wilson