"The Mystery of Edwin Drood" never was solved because its author, Charles Dickens, died before he could finish the novel.
Imaginative playwright-composer Rupert Holmes, a fellow Briton, has given it an ending — or, more accurately, a half-dozen endings — while turning the book into a musical comedy. This creation is winding up a two-weekend engagement at Vanguard University as an ambitious, overlong but consistently entertaining production.
"Drood" has brought out the best in its production team — director Vanda Eggington, choreographer Stephany Parker and costumer Lia M. Hansen — all of whom turn in superior achievements, which more than compensate for the somewhat creaky storyline of a music hall troupe playing out Dickens' drama.
Ensemble work in the show's frequent production numbers has been especially impressive, with Parker's dance numbers — particularly the "Off to the Races" first-act closer — elevating the proceedings considerably. Longtime costume designer Hansen has outdone herself on this show with her rich lineup of Victorian creations.