REVIEW: Murder For Two (The Other Palace) ★★★★
The Other Palace Studio is a cosy and intimate venue, and the perfect place to be an eyewitness for the killer musical comedy, Murder For Two. Recently a sell-out off-Broadway, Murder for Two has also been a huge success at the Watermill Theatre.
When famous novelist Arthur Whitney is found dead at his birthday party, Marcus Moscowitz, a friendly neighbourhood policeman with dreams of being a detective, sneaks into the crime scene and attempts to solve the whodunnit. With the two actors playing thirteen characters in total, farcical mayhem ensues as Marcus is faced against a ticking clock to prove himself before the real detectives turn up.
When I first read that one actor alone would be playing the suspects, I assumed that this would be quite a daunting task and difficult to follow for the audience. However, Jeremy Legat as The Suspects took this in his stride – with a stunning ability to make each character simple to distinguish from one another, he played each one with endearing quirks and individual eccentricities. Ed MacArthur was also a fine Marcus Moscowitz, playing the role of the clumsy and determined protagonist with charm and relatability.
The story was surprisingly gripping, carefully calculated and definitely enjoyable for anyone who enjoys their Agatha Christie. The music created some beautiful moments throughout the show, especially in Act I. ‘Protocol Says’ is a catchy and fun number that gets the show off to a great start, whereas ‘He Needs a Partner’ was a beautifully sung ballad between the two actors. Both Legat and MacArthur proved their incredible musical abilities through their work on their piano and their vocals.
Most of the classic comedic moments relied on breaking the fourth wall and audience interaction. This improvised hilarity consisted of Marcus bringing an audience member on-stage to perform a comedic death scene, and MacArthur mocking himself for forgetting his lines. Nonetheless, I felt that some of the humour, in Act II specifically, could be seen as being forced or too ‘try-hard’. Although amusing, the ‘Henry Vivaldi’ and ‘Steppin’ Out of The Shadows’ musical numbers were too silly for me and seemed disconnected from the plot.
Despite this, Murder For Two is a slick production and a tantalising treat for theatre-goers this Christmas. Intelligently delivered, a night of cosy crime awaits you with toe-tapping tunes aplenty.
Reviewed by Freya Martyniak
Photo: Scott Rylander
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