Aggravated parents shouldn't get excited over the Moorpark Melodrama's current "But Why Bump Off Barnaby?" No purple dinosaur gets offed in this comic murder mystery; you'd be thinking of Barney. In fact, the Melodrama's first non-musical production in eight years is great fun.
We're deep in Agatha Christie country here: The long-absent member of an aristocratic English family, Barnaby Folcey returns home at the request of patriarch Orion Leduc. Things aren't all as they appear to be at the family manse, and before long, prodigal Barnaby has become the late Barnaby. Dying, he scrawls a message that (as it turns out) could implicate virtually anybody in the house. The other problem is that, while Barnaby had a motive for killing most of the others, none of the others had any perceptible motive to kill Barnaby.
In addition to Barnaby (Robert Plunkett) and Leduc (Nels Jorgensen), the characters--virtually all of them suspects--include police reporter and nominal hero Jeff Barnett (Scott Humphries), his addled fiancee Dora Dunstock (Ami Shupe), hearing-impaired Lady Barbara (Gayle Hendrix-Harris), vain and flirtatious movie star Cleo Barton (Deborah Webster), Leduc's fortune-hunting "friend" Rosalind Barstow (Buffy Jo Fitch), nanny Miss Barnsdale (Gale Grove), Medkins the butler (JC Bishop) and Magnolia the maid (Ginger Marin).