Wednesday, December 10, 2014
"MURDER FOR TWO" IS SILLY, WACKY AND ABSURD...AND FUN
By Chuck Graham, TucsonStage.com
Ian Lowe (left) and Joe Kinosian cover all the roles in this surreal musical comedy.
Arizona Theatre Company continues its season series of easily accessible, entry-level stage productions with “Murder For Two,” a musical comedy mayhem experience that is a magnet for such adjectives as “silly, wacky and absurd.”
Performed in 90 minutes by two of the hardest working guys in show business – Joe Kinosian (who also wrote the music and co-wrote the book) and Ian Lowe – “Murder For Two” is loosely hung on the framework of who-dun-it suprise and vaudeville shtick.
Imagine if Agatha Christie and the Marx Brothers went on a date to see a Salvador Dali exhibit. Then they stopped off for a few drinks and started talking....
As one enthusiastic audience member said afterward, “I loved it because I didn't have to think. It was just fun.”
Certainly there is no inner logic to the zippy proceedings as Kinosian turns into a human kaleidoscope of personalities that go flashing across his face, through his voice, and occasionally into the body language of his flailing arms and legs.
Lowe is more of a straight man, setting up situations for Kinosian to destroy one way or other. Structurally, Lowe plays the intern-detective Marcus, needing to solve this murder at “an isolated mansion in rural New England” so he can get promoted to full-time detective.
If Marcus can sort through all of the equally colorful and ridiculous characters Kinosian creates, deftly defying myriad distractions to pin the murder on the guilty party, then there will be a happy ending.
There is also a piano involved, for no particular reason except that the two actors can also pump out some facile keyboard phrases, and sing as well. No talent will be taken lightly in this production.
As Time Out New York wrote: “...director Scott Schwartz milks the show for every drop of tomfoolery: vaudeville bits, sound effects, meta winks, audience participation. Like many a lark, “Murder For Two” takes time to get off the ground. But after flapping its wings for a couple of scenes, it wins you over with droll writing and winsome performances...if you like your show-business men hardworking, you may end up smitten.”
“Murder For Two” runs through Dec. 20 with performances at various times Tuesdays through Sundays downtown in the Temple of Music and Art, 330 S. Scott Ave.