BWW Review: SHEAR MADNESS at New Theatre Restaurant

BWW Review: SHEAR MADNESS at New Theatre Restaurant

Now unfolding at New Theatre Restaurant in Overland Park is America's longest-running, non-musical, audience-involved, parody, murder-mystery play entitled "Shear Madness." This show is deliberately beyond silly and peculiarly tailored to tickle BWW Review: SHEAR MADNESS at New Theatre Restaurantlocal funny bones.

Have you ever played the board game "Clue?" Instead of in a mansion, "Shear Madness" takes place in a unisex hair salon. As a "Shear Madness" audience member, your job will be to discover through evaluation of clues which of the six actors on stage has murdered landlady Isabel Czerny.

The genius of "Shear Madness" is that any of the actors may be the murderer and the lead detective is always you. Each time, an audience member sees the show, the guilty party may turn out to be someone else. Dialogue is largely improvised. Jokes are altered to be specific to the city in which the show is being performed. If you like corny jokes and puns, this show is a trip to the PUN-iteniary.

This cast PUN-ishes the audience with skill and long practice. They are remarkably well balanced, wry, stereotypical, and alternately outrageous across the comedy spectrum. Richard Karn from TV's "Home Improvement" leads the cast of six. Karn is obviously an old pro with lots of experience as swarmy antique dealer Eddie Lawrence. Tudi Roche is salon employee Barbara DeMarco. She is funny and cute and also married to Richard Karn in real life.

BWW Review: SHEAR MADNESS at New Theatre RestaurantRon Megee returns to the part of Tony Whitcomb after previously sharing the stage with Richard Karn during his last residence at New Theatre. If you enjoy Sean Hayes from "Will and Grace," you will love Ron Megee. He is faabuulous! Salon patron Mrs. Shubert is rich and persnickedy Merle Moores. Ms. Moores is a well-experienced Kansas City based performer. Here, her goal is to get on an airplane headed out of town. Is she the murderer?

Kansas City police officers investigate the murder of former concert pianist turned landlady Czerny and herd a stage and audience full of "cats" through the setup. Inspector Nick Rossetti is played by Jim Korinke. Between other gigs, Jim Korinke has been fooling with "Shear Madness" since 1988. Craig Benton is Detective Mike Thomas. He is a long time Kansas City Actor who is often seen at New Theater.

"Shear Madness" has been running continuously in Boston since 1980 and since 1987 in the Theater Laboratory at Washington's Kennedy Center. The play currently shows in some thirty countries. It is based on a German play called "Scherenschnitt" by a German playwright named Peter Portner (no relation).

"Shear Madness" is a fun evening with a competent cast. It runs through February 17 at New Theater Restaurant. Tickets are available at or by telephone at 913-649-SHOW (7469).

Photos courtesy of New Theater Restaurant and Roy Inman.

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From This Author Alan Portner


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