PICKSINSIX Review: MURDER FOR TWO
‘MURDER’ is a “Perfectly Lovely Surprise!”
The (usual) Suspects... You already know judging from the title that "Murder for Two" - now playing at the Marriott Theatre Lincolnshire - involves at least one murder which occurs as the surprise birthday party for mystery novelist Arthur Whitney is about to begin. Early on we meet The (usual) Suspects including the victim’s wife, a prima ballerina, a wheel-chair bound psychiatrist, a feisty old couple, a demur wanna-be caper-cracker, a fireman, and a 12-member boys choir, of which all but three are elsewhere.
Strap yourself in... Officer Marcus Moscowicz, who is vying for a promotion to detective, is quickly on the scene with his partner Lou and determines that everyone has a motive. What is unusual about The Suspects, is that they are all played by one actor. In case you are thinking that there is no way all this can possibly happen in the course of 90 minutes, strap yourself in for a comic tour de force directed by Scott Weinstein.
Rollicking madcap musical mystery... This two-hander – which is more like a 26-hander, not counting two more thrown in for good measure along the way – originated in New York at Second Stage Theatre, had its world premiere at Chicago Shakespeare (2011 Jeff Award for Best Musical) then again to New York and a national tour. With book and music by Joe Kinosian and book and lyrics by Kellen Blair, Murder for Two is a rollicking madcap musical mystery sendup energized in the Marriott production by the stellar performances of Noel Carey and Jason Grimm - a pair of amazingly gifted actors and musicians with superb comic instincts – who work terrifically well together.
Seasoned flair... Protocol says that the plot will not be revealed, so this ‘Murder’ is, and will remain, as one of the many tuneful songs confesses, a “Perfectly Lovely Surprise!” Carey brings a seasoned flair and single-minded energy to Moscowicz, a role that he has played on national tour. Weinstein has expertly matched Carey with the explosive Grimm, whose out-of-body, split-second transformations appear effortless. When the two are not trading verbal banter at breakneck speed, they accompany each other on the grand piano – often both at the same time – under the artful musical direction of Matt Desitchman.
Stage set perfectly... All of the mayhem is staged in the round on an exquisite Scott Davis multi-level interior set that has more than a few special features allowing the story to ingeniously unfold so that every seat is the best in the house. With sound design by Robert E. Gilmartin, lighting by Jesse Klug, costumes by Emily Arnold and music supervision by Patti Garwood, the stage is set perfectly for a non-stop evening of entertainment.
Funny business... Things get started right away so if your head is buried in your program or you are running late, you may miss some of the funny business. There is plenty of convenient free and low-cost valet parking and many dining options in the area to help make Murder for Two a not-to-be-missed summertime treat.