BWW Review: MURDER FOR TWO at Cincinnati Playhouse In The Park
Murder for Two? Murder for All
So, you and your friends are looking for something to do. Someone suggests, let's go see a show! You want to see a murder mystery, but Joe wants to see a farce, and Mary is more in the mood for a musical review. Well, you're all in luck because Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park has a little something for everyone in its latest production, Murder for Two!
Two victims, two police officers, and a host of party guests/suspects populate Murder for Two, the musical murder mystery farce now playing in the black box at the Playhouse, but there are only two actors who bring these characters to life (and death, as it were).
Eric Van Tielen plays an officer who arrives early to secure the scene of the crime and decides to take the opportunity to solve the murder, in the hope of impressing his boss and propelling himself to the rank of detective. His hat plays the role of Lou, another low-ranking officer on the case. Eric Shorey energetically takes on the roles of the remainder of the wild cast of characters, even sometimes flipping between characters mid-sentence. Shorey shows great flexibility (both in body and persona) as each character is identified by particular mannerisms, voice and accent changes, and sometimes props. Among this cast of characters is a boys' choir, a southern grand dame, a ballerina, a coy but clever grad student, and a bickering couple.
The victim is a popular novelist, who has - dum dum dum! (ominous music) - written books in which all of the party-goers have been featured as thinly veiled versions of themselves, thus revealing all of their secrets. The investigating officer is no exception. How can this be? It's all explained in this rollicking journey through murder, mayhem...
And music! Shorey and Van Tielen are both talented musicians, switching off tickling the ivories of the grand piano in the center of the stage almost continuously and sometimes playing together. They sing, they dance, they do everything within their powers to show the audience a good time. Occasionally the pacing can be rather frantic, and the energy stays at the same high level throughout the show, but the story and frequent musical numbers kept audience members' attention piqued throughout the hour and forty-five minutes (with no intermission).
Murder for Two won its creators, Joe Kinosian (book and music) and Kellan Blair (book and lyrics), a Joseph Jefferson Award, which is Chicago's local version of the Tony's, for Best New Musical in 2011. Come see this comically murderous rollercoaster ride before it goes off the rails.
Oh, and one more thing! LGBTQIA community members and allies are invited to attend The Playhouse's PRIDE NIGHT on Friday, June 1st.
Here's what it includes:
• Pre-show party at 6 p.m. with live entertainment, open bar and hors d'oeuvres
• Murder for Two performance at 8 p.m.
• Post-show party with open bar and a DJ
A portion of the proceeds benefits the Transgender Health Clinic at Cincinnati Children's Hospital, a non-profit organization that provides an accepting atmosphere and healthcare services for patients 5 to 24 years old.
Photo credit: Mikki Schaffner