Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Murder for Two **

(Please click on the title to see the complete review.)
So soon after being disappointed by Murder Ballad, I was not looking forward to seeing another off-Broadway murder musical  This new show at Second Stage Uptown with music by Joe Kinosian, lyrics by Kellen Blair and a book by both, however, bears no resemblance to that overheated drama. It is more like an extended vaudeville act for two than a murder mystery whose solution is of primary importance. (If you remember who did it five minutes after the show ends, you're better than I am.) Fortunately, the two actors are the multi-talented Jeff Blumenkrantz and Brett Ryback. These two energetic performers act, sing, dance and play a mean piano, both separately and together. Ryback plays Marcus, a young police officer out to make detective by solving the murder of a famous novelist. The rubber-faced Blumenkrantz plays all the suspects, who include the victim's wife, his mistress, his niece, an unscrupulous psychiatrist and members of a boys choir. The proceedings too often rely on frenetic activity rather than wit. There is less music than I would have expected. Beowulf Boritt's clever set promises more than the play delivers. Scott Schwartz's direction keeps up a lively pace. It's not a terrible way to spend a summer evening, but it's not as much fun as I hoped for. Running time: 90 minutes, no intermission.

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