Murder for Two is the Perfect Musical Hit of the Season (5 Stars)
by Johnny Monsarrat
Murder for Two, Book and Music by Joe Kinosian, Book and Lyrics by Kellen Blair, Directed by A. Nora Long, with Music Director Bethany Aiken, Choreographer David Connolly, Scenic Designer Shelley Barish, Costume Designer Tobi Rinaldi, Lighting Design Heather Crocker, Sound Design Andrew Duncan Will, Dialect Coach Bryn Austin, Production Stage Manager Nerys Powell, and Assistant Stage Manager Betsy Pierce, featuring Kristen Salpini and Jared Troilo.
Murder for Two isn’t just a musical comedy, a parody of murder mysteries. It’s also a series of stunts where just two performers act out a dozen roles. This puts antics on top of antics. The show is laugh out loud funny from start to finish, but intelligent, too. For example, at one point, two characters look out a window to observe something that the audience can’t see. So one of them narrates what is happening, explaining, “When I get nervous, sometimes I have to speak out loud whatever I’m seeing.” The play is full of winks at the audience like that, and they even called a volunteer up on stage, who was himself hilarious (it was me).
Most of the burden falls onto actor Kristen Salpini, who plays at least 8 roles with different mannerisms and acccents. The two actors have great chemistry with each other, and the production is finely polished as though plenty of rehearsal time was given. I am reminded of Back to the Future, which is a perfect movie in how it is written — there are no throwaway lines or digressions. Similarly, Murder for Two seems to be perfectly created. The scenes are genuinely funny, clever, and original in how they twist the genre and the meta-genre of two actors just trying to get through a play without enough people.
On top of this, the Murder for Two production heaps mountains of well-timed physical comedy. Wow wow wow! Lighting and staging are simple, but none are needed except for a piano which takes center stage. The duo even play it comically, with one pushing each other around to take over the entire keyboard briefly before being pushed back.
The show is pure entertainment, and you won’t learn anything about the human condition or find deep characterizations, but it does find the perfect balance between being so silly that you don’t care about what happens to the characters, and so dramatic that it’s not funny.
It’s hard to describe, but if you like Events INSIDER, trust my judgement. I have been reviewing shows for 10 years and this is one not to miss.
I’m glad to give this show a 5 stars plus. It’s the hit of the winter season.