BWW Review: Sign Me Up for MURDER FOR TWO at Winter Park Playhouse
Murder is always entertaining in musical theater. The construct usually surrounds a detective and his quest to find the suspect. MURDER FOR TWO takes that to an extreme with just two men playing all roles in this murder mystery. They also accompany themselves on the piano. It's tiring, entertaining, and astounding to watch.
During a surprise party, a local author is murdered in his mansion. There are 13 suspects and one inspector. This simple "whodunit" turns into a musical where the inspector interviews each suspect. These suspects range in personality from annoying teenager to old angry married couple to homicidal ballerina. Each suspect has a reason to be the murderer.
Kevin Kelly as Marcus the Inspector is quite entertaining. He carries on conversation without missing a beat. It's interesting when you realize, he's essentially talking to himself, or the same person just as a different character. It is also impressive to see Kelly act his role and jump on the piano and picks up where Swickard leaves off. He maintains his wide-eyed bumbling inspector persona who just wants to catch his big break.
More impressive is Michael Swickard as all 13 suspects. I was curious how this was going to work going into the show. Was is possible for one man to portray so many people without messing up? The answer is yes. Using various speaking intonations, accents, props and physical idiosyncrasies, these different characters came to life. Of all the characters, my favorites were the boy choir and the annoying teenager. This role really showcases the range Swickard can play. It's both exhausting and entertaining to watch. Be sure to check out my interview with Kelly and Swickard here.
The show is a quick 90 minute non-stop mystery. The stage is set simply with a piano set center stage. There are doors on both side that work well to show the moving of different rooms in the mansion. In the end, you won't care who was the actual murderer because you'll find yourself enjoying the entire journey.
Directed by Roy Alan, MURDER FOR TWO runs at Winter Park Playhouse now through June 11, so you have a few more days to catch this delightful play. For tickets and more information visit www.winterparkplayhouse.org.
Photo Credit: Taylor Glore