‘Kris Kross’ A comical cross of ‘The Maltese Falcon’ with Christmas themes, fruitcake

Black Fedora

Finding its inspiration from Dashiell Hammett’s 1929 detective mystery novel “The Maltese Falcon,” Black Fedora’s adaptation merges characters from its long-running Inspector NoClue series with holiday themes and figures that include elves and the man himself, Kris Kringle.

For Fedora’s take on Hammett’s classic, Inspector NoClue transforms from a clumsy criminal investigator into a comical rendition of Sam Spade, the tough, cynical but effective hero of “The Maltese Falcon.”

And while cinema lovers may equate Spade to Humphrey Bogart’s 1941 film portrayal, don’t expect the same glamour and coolness embodied by Bogart from the hapless inspector. NoClue’s revision retains his lovable misfortune and comical ineptitude for the role of Spade, as he plows through a dangerous underworld of mobsters, thieves, sirens and corruption in a quest to rescue the innocent and restore goodness for all.

In the “Maltese Falcon,” that innocence represented itself in the plot device of a stolen falcon figurine, while Inspector NoClue is tasked with retrieving a sacred fruitcake from hilarious opposition.

The theater has cast five lead actors for its stage adaptation, and turns to more than a dozen volunteers and audience participants for a family-friendly night of interactive comedy, mystery and Christmas spirit.

“Kris Kross: A Merry Madcap Mystery” will debut its 28-show run this weekend at the Black Fedora Comedy Mystery Theatre, 164 Church St. Friday’s early show begins at 5:30 p.m., followed by a second performance at 8:30 p.m.; Saturday’s show starts at 5:30 p.m. and Sunday’s performance will begin at 7 p.m.

Adult tickets are $24 and may be purchased at the theater box office or online at www.CharlestonMysteries.com. Group rates available. Go to the theater website or call 843-937-6453 for more information and additional show dates.

Song-and-dance duo Gracie and Lacy will return to the Footlight Players’ stage for two shows from its latest production, “Christmas on the Air,” this Saturday.

Sisters Emily and Lacy Miller got their theatrical start as adolescents in their native Missouri, performing productions for neighbors, friends and family in their driveway. The sisters found their calling early, building a career in theater production that has taken them across the Midwest and Southeast.

Grafting from their love of 1920s and ’30s fashion, music, dances and, of course, the radio programs of the time, the Millers created Gracie and Lacy as alter egos in the mid-1990s.

The characters and productions constructed around them hit the mark for audiences all over the country, before the pair settled in Charleston last year to ground its productions in the historic Footlight Players Theatre.

Both sisters received voice training from Diane Huber, but they split their individual talents between dance and costume design, with Lacy designing and constructing their retro costumes and Gracie showcasing her professional tap experience in their productions.

“Christmas on the Air” dives into the dusty box of bygone radio shows, returning audiences to the nearly forgotten time when entertainment only needed a voice, music and sound effects to tell a story.

With their acclaimed choreography, singing, set design and vintage appeal, Gracie and Lacy’s Christmas special re-enacts the musicals of both the Greatest and Silent generations with song classics from “Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town” to “Jingle Bells.”

Saturday’s early show will begin at 2 p.m., followed by a second performance at 7 p.m. Tickets are $30 for adults, $25 for seniors and students, $20 for groups of 10 or more and $10 for children.

Tickets are available at the Footlight Players box office, 20 Queen St., or online at www.GracieandLacy.com. Go to www.FootlightPlayers.net or call 843-722-4487 for more information.

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