The Big Sleep
Jesse Lynn Anderson and Graham Percy star in The Big Sleep | Photo: Tim Nguyen, Citrus Photography

The Big Sleep

P.I. Philip Marlowe returns to the Vertigo Theatre stage

Amy Jo Espetveidt

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In 2014 Calgary audiences were introduced to the lovable, but deeply flawed, P.I. Philip Marlowe in Farewell, My Lovely, and he’s once again sleuthing for clues on the Vertigo stage.

Kicking off Vertigo Theatre’s 2016/17 BD&P Mystery Theatre Series’ 40th anniversary season is Raymond Chandler’s most famous work, The Big Sleep, as adapted by Aaron Bushkowsky. A world premiere, the production marks the first full commission for the series and sees Graham Percy return to the role of Phillip Marlowe.

“Chandler’s iconic novel The Big Sleep is sprawling, complicated and full of great characters. I could fill several plays with the characters and plot points from the book. But I have less than 15,000 words and two hours to do it in,” says Bushkowsky, in a statement. “My job was to make this wonderful, weird story feel at home on stage and to embrace the theatricality of it, explore the relationships and give a clear through-line to the plot. It’s an adaptation, not really the famous film and not really the book. It’s a play about the process of a criminal investigation, not its results.”

When a millionaire is given the squeeze, he wants Marlowe to make the problem go away. But Marlowe’s got his work cut out even before he stumbles over the first corpse.

The Big Sleep runs September 17 to October 16, 2016 in The Playhouse at Vertigo Theatre (161, 115 9th Ave. SE). Tickets start at $29 and are available at the Vertigo Theatre Ticket Office, by calling 403.221.3708 or at