Review: The Ministry of Mundane Mysteries

by Lynn on April 21, 2020

in The Passionate Playgoer

Where: from the comfort of my very own apartment, on the phone.

When: April 13-18, 2020.

Who: Outside the March presents the Ministry of Mundane Mysteries.

What: The Case of the Missing Beloved Sock.

Creative Team: Nick Blais, Katherine Cullen, Mitchell Cushman, Anahita Dehbonehie, Colin Doyle, Sébastien Heins, Amy Keating, Griffin McInnes.

Ministry Direction by Mitchell Cushman, Griffin McInnes

Cast: Colin Doyle

Sébastien Heins

Toby Hughes

Liz Johnston

The always inventive folks at Outside the March have fashioned some theatre for these extraordinary times, all in the comfort of your home. They call it The Ministry of Mundane Mysteries and those who get involved fashion their own ‘mundane mystery’ that an Inspector and his/her team has to solve. To date the Ministry of Mundane Mysteries have worked on 120 individual cases with their own scenarios, clues and teams.  The teams have solved issues of coincidence, lost keep sakes and anomalies (one was the mystery of the three-yoke egg—the makings of an anomaly if ever there was one).

My issue might be mundane to some but to me was a serious concern: The Case of the Missing Beloved Sock.

Participants arrange a good time to be called on the telephone for six days straight by a member of the team who will try and solve the case. I was lucky. I was assigned Inspector Doyle who told me his track record for solving his cases was impeccable. He was not boastful. He was just stating the facts.

I was called on Monday, April 13 until April 18 at a certain time every afternoon. Inspector Doyle’s attention to detail was obvious. He was punctual. His ability to listen and empathise was heartening and he went the extra mile in my case. He began our discussion by singing me “Happy Birthday” (and I wasn’t even washing my hands). It had in fact been my birthday the day before. His attention to detail was impressive.

The facts of my case were these: I had been given a pair of socks by loving friends for a significant birthday. One sock had “Right Foot” printed on it and “Left Foot” on the other. Somehow I lost the “Left Foot” sock. The socks had sentimental value. I looked all around the washing machine and the dryer in the dust and could not find the sock. I looked in drawers and could not find the sock. I thought static electricity held it captive in the pile of ironing that had accumulated over the years (!) and I thought it might be stuck at the bottom of the hamper. Nothing. I unfolded an extra duvet cover and looked inside and found two!!!!! mis-matched socks but not the one I was looking for. I did not give up and just toss the errant sock. I held out hope. Inspector Doyle was that hope.

He confided that a close personal friend had been in the same position regarding the loss of a cherished sock. He knew my pain and sympathized.

Inspector Doyle kept meticulous notes of what I said, as did his team, because in subsequent calls from other members of his team (I won’t divulge their names to protect their cover) they referred to other bits of information I shared. One operative believed there was a conspiracy theory and that nudist in Caledon were taking socks to make a point (??? Don’t be careless with your clothes?). I got another call from a person representing the nudists in Caledon saying the previous caller was a crank who besmirched their good name and was known to them. Inspector Doyle called me during the week, talking softly, saying he was in a cave in Caledon checking out the clues about the nudists. In that call with Inspector Doyle he cried out in surprise then the phone went dead. What was I to think? When he called at the end of the week he said that he had been in a cave. There was bad reception.

All the clues and information were gathered. Inspector Doyle solved the case in a logical way. He played the catchy theme song for the experience composed by the gifted Britta Johnson. I was able to share with him my new favourite song “Stand Up” sung by Cynthia Erivo and co-composed by her and Joshua Brian Campbell (thrilling). And in true classy fashion Inspector Doyle played that recording for me too, as a parting gift. There was nothing mundane about this experience.

The experience of The Case of the Missing Beloved Sock was fun, engaging, uplifting, full of unexpected turns and presented by an expert team who were creative and intellectually and artistically nimble. The wonderful people involved with Outside the March have created this to help bring theatre through the phone because we can’t go out and engage in person. It’s great fun. Sign up and see what I mean. 

 Presented by Outside the March

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