Murder for Two at The Other Palace
With just two actors playing over a dozen characters, the American Off-Broadway hit Murder for Two, directed by Luke Sheppard, is an ingenious comedy sketch musical whodunit that takes place in a tiny cabaret style locale at The Other Palace – the newly named St James Theatre. Joe Kinosian’s music is terrific and, coupled with Kellen Blair’s genius lyrics, adds perfect counterpoint to a very clever act.
An interesting experiment with retro genres, the piece has an old fashioned Vaudevillian feel combined with American slapstick and Agatha Christiesque characterisation and narrative. Rather like Laurel and Hardy or the Marx Brothers, two performers around a piano hilariously mimic in rapid succession various suspects in the murder of author Arthur Witney – a brilliant feat of juggling voices and changing hats, cavorting dexterously around the stage, all the while with a kind of Saturday Night Live tongue-in-cheek chuckling. At a glance the play comes across as witty improvisation, but with quick timing and seamless delivery it is actually a very tight, clearly impeccably directed and rehearsed production – despite a couple of bloopers, which were delightfully and smoothly incorporated into the performance.
The work is carried by the excellent talent and skill of the players. Ed MacArthur is Officer Marcus, whose dream is to be a detective. He finds himself at the scene of a murder, and as the victim’s wife insists he must help her, he obliges, with the anxious hope of solving the case before the real detective arrives. Jeremy Legat performs most of the roles in tour de force fashion, morphing from one to the other with shape-shifting virtuosity: from the rather pompous but sly Mrs Whitney who rails with frustrated ambitions, to a decidedly neurotic psychiatrist, a femme fatale ballerina who can’t stop doing plies and rond de jambes, some wise-cracking nine year olds (survivors of a camping disaster) and many other wonderfully ridiculous personalities.
Incorporating great music and the infectious joy and silliness of the best comedy skits with outstanding writing, direction and performances, Murder for Two is innovative, entertaining and outrageously fun.
Murder for Two is at The Other Palace from 2nd until 18th March 2017, for further information or to book visit here.
Watch the promo video for Murder for Two here: