The result is a ride of fun and frenzy as Joe Kinosian plays all the suspects and Ian Lowe plays the glorified security guard turned opportunistic detective. The two actors shared the piano, sometimes pushing one another out of the way. They went in and out of characters’ voices in dizzying and satisfying speed. They were funny and inventive. Their joyful energy was infectious.
There was one problem for me in all this. I kept thinking, “I couldn’t have written that myself. I couldn’t have thought that stuff up.”
Usually when I go to movies or plays, there are parts I want to change. “That scene should have been cut,” I might say to myself. “I could have written that better myself,” I sometimes think.
Murder for Two is so smart and clever that, unfortunately, I couldn’t have written it. Any good writer needs to read (or listen) to other examples of fine writing. Sometimes the experience is humbling. That was my situation tonight. It wasn’t once that I thought, “I couldn’t have written this.” It was about ninety times. (The show runs ninety minutes.)
I was shocked at the end when the audience didn’t jump right to its feet to applaud even though I did. I think some of the patrons were simply worn out from all the fun. They might have been left behind by the speed of the character changes.
Or, more likely, they didn’t stop to consider just how difficult the play was to perform. Both men had to be quick and sharp, play the piano expertly, and make jokes at the same time. They had to use split-second timing. Sometimes they sang in harmony. In the most intricate musical moments, they sang counterpoint. This takes immense practice and discipline. So actually, I was stunned twice: first by the clever script, and then again by the mastery of the actors.
So hat’s off. And for those of you in Tucson, the play runs through December 20th. Treat yourself to a night at the theatre. And be prepared to be murdered by a high level of creativity and skill. (The show plays in Phoenix Dec 31-Jan 18.)
For something not quite as creative, please check out my novel website: http://www.drransdellnovels.com