Can murder be fun? It can be if you went to the Penobscot Theatre Company’s gala presentation of “Murder for Two”. Last night’s performance was so stellar I believe several stars in the Orion nebula were crying out of jealousy. In an old isolated mansion in New England our story begins. For us anyway. A surprise party turns awry with calamity, lies, and of course…murder.
A shot rings out! There’s been a murder (there’s that word again. Pay attention it’ll come up again). As dialogue and song spills it guts (oh, sorry) throughout the evening, Marcus (a sometimes unsuspecting and yet always suspecting detective wannabee) played by the brilliant and most talented Jason Cohen, doles out scenario after scenario in high hopes of cracking the case wide open to impress his boss and make detective. Although there is a sense that he is inwardly doing it for himself as well and unwillingly looking for love again after a disheartening relationship leaves him saddened.
On the other side of the piano (which both Jason and Danielle played beautifully) we have the ever present queen of the multiple split personality and voice characterizations, Danielle Erin Rhodes who without question made us question just how many people really were on the stage. Like a bird whose highly developed cerebral cortex allows them to make split second decisions in flight, Danielle’s second to second facial expressions and voice changes were a most superior triumph.
Jason gives us a variety of feelings to deal with. He’s a tough guy (with his cop attitude), a dismal failure when he believes he won’t solve the case, and yet, his heart floats about him ever so freely when encountered by a young lady. His masterful emotions are portrayed wonderfully and with a most convincing manner.
As our story progresses, so does the incredulous comedic never ending banter interpolating the piano that danced and spoke as much as every character did with both simplicity and complexity in a marriage of extreme entertainment. Before I go I need to say the “Protocol Song” was hilarious and sprung up in a spray of sincerity in so many places. So, between dead husbands and stolen ice cream (you’ll see) this marvelous and endearing song and banter show is a fabulous must see. The wonderful story and music by Joe Kinosian and story and lyrics by Kellen Blair only go to show that a young readers guide to murder can be fun.
Written by John D’Alessandro
Photos by Susan D’Alessandro