The Darien Arts Center hosts the return of the Darien Players for its 2011-2012 season. The first show, set for Nov. 4, will be a murder mystery parody, "The Case of the Curious Condiment." Written by Connecticut Playwright Jack Rushen, the play skewers and slow-roasts Agatha Christie, along with every cliche of the classic British drawing room mystery.

An English matriarch plans a soiree, only to be tipped off that a murder will be committed that evening. This brings together a lusty adulteress, her secretly gay husband, a wisecracking butler, a beautiful ingenue, and an old Colonel who can talk about very little except the production of mustard. When one is murdered, they call in Inspector Foote, who seems less interested solving the actual crime than he is hearing himself talk. The play combines the styles of Oscar Wilde and Agatha Christie and mixes in elements of classic British comedies such as Monty Python's Flying Circus and Blackadder.

Tom Rushen returns to the DAC Weatherstone studio to direct a talented cast of actors from Darien and surrounding towns. Rushen's deep understanding of mining a script's comedic moments to invoke maximum laughter was proven at the DAC last fall while directing crime farce "Cahoots" by Rick Johnston.

"The play itself is just hilarious," said Ron Heinbaugh, president of the Darien Players. "It's important for audiences who love a good mystery to see this show really roast the genre."

The season presents American classic "Come Back to the Five and Dime, Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean" by Ed Graczyk, in March, and the drama "The Runner Stumbles" by Milan Stitt, in May. Tickets (Adults $25, Seniors $20) and subscription information are available on the DAC website (arts.darien.org) or by calling the box office at 203-655-5414.

Founded in 1975, the Darien Arts Center is a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing visual and performing arts programs and events for the community. The DAC offers educational programs in dance, visual arts, theatre and music and performances, by the Darien Players and Cabaret Theatre.

The organization is funded by private donations, tuition fees and ticket sales. For more information, call 203-655-8683 or visit arts.darien.org.

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Fact box

The play will be presented Nov. 4, 5, 6, 11, 12, 13, 18, 19. Tickets are adults $25, seniors $20, children under 12 with an adult $10. For reservations, call 203-655-5414.